MOUNTAIN VIEW COUNTY — Jennifer Lutz is running for a seat as a Mountain View County councillor in Division 7.
Lutz currently works for the Town of Olds and operates a mixed farm with her husband Brad and son Mark about 18 kilometres east of Olds.
She plans to take a leave of absence while campaigning and if she wins the seat, will resign her post with the town.
Lutz said she never planned to enter politics but became so frustrated with various issues in the county she decided to throw her hat in the ring this time.
The election will be held Oct. 18.
“I had been asked a long time ago and really, it was a compliment to be asked, but never really thought it was something I longed to do. Who wants to be a politician,” she said during an interview.
“But I think the municipal experience I’ve had working for the town and just, you know, watching the dynamics play out, I think there’s a real role for people like me to serve the community and try and make this community great.”
Lutz has worked for the Town of Olds for about five years. Her duties have included serving as community facilities manager and lately was given the role of deputy director of emergency management.
Other jobs over the years have included serving as executive director of the Sundre Petroleum Operators Group (SPOG) and director of community engagement for the Alberta Energy Regulator.
Lutz took conflict resolution and mediation training to hone her skills in listening to others, negotiating with them and accommodating their needs
She also sold chemicals, equipment and grain bins for UFA.
In addition to her duties with the town, Lutz is currently president of the Olds Curling Club, a Kiwanis Club of Olds member, and a Oldstoberfest and Alberta Culture Days Volunteer.
When her kids were young, she was involved in various activities like with 4-H and sports.
“I think county priorities should be policing, crime prevention, fire services, roads. I think that’s what’s important in a rural area,” she said.
Lutz conceded more police officers may not be the answer to rural crime prevention but she said more needs to be done via groups like Rural Crime Watch. She’d also like to find out more about the ramifications of going with the Alberta police service that Premier Jason Kenney advocates.
“(I) don’t know enough about it yet,” she said. “I just know that what’s happening right now isn’t working, so you know, what creative solutions do you have to get out there?”
Lutz said a solution needs to be found to the standoff between the county and the Town of Olds over fire policing costs.
She thinks her experience as a negotiator not only via the town but her other experience with SPOG and other entities could be useful in achieving that goal.
Lutz also wants to see county roads improved.
“I just heard that there’s some gravel issues on getting gravel. I heard from some of my neighbours and they’re putting way more clay than gravel on roads. So I just think that’s what’s important," she said.
“I know between Mountain View and Red Deer County, it’s frustrating for landowners and property owners to see the difference where one county is offering one level of service and Mountain View’s offering another.”
Lutz said off the top, those are just some of the issues that concern her.
She’s created a website to give people an opportunity to learn more about her and what she stands for. She’s also invited voters to visit that website.