INNISFAIL – Marnie Witt came to town four years ago after creating a professional name for herself in the oil and gas and manufacturing industries for 31 years.
Today, the 55-year-old Witt is semi-retired and has seized a mission to give back to the Central Alberta community she has come to love.
“I have fallen in love with the people of Innisfail. It’s a great town, and I just want to give back to the community. I am in a position now that I can dig deeper and get into municipal politics,” she said.
Witt has thrown her hat in the ring to seek a seat on town council in the upcoming Oct. 18 municipal election.
She comes with impeccable professional credentials. Her three decades-plus professional background as a corporate human resources manager where she gained extensive experience in leadership roles, communications, mediation, leadership coaching and mentoring, aboriginal cultural awareness training, stakeholder engagement, conflict resolution, labour relations, financial planning, business development, and budgeting.
“I do consider myself to be a creative and innovative thinker with a ‘can do’ attitude and personality. I love working with people and listening to them as to what matters most to them in our community,” said Witt. “Advocation and being a voice and serving our community is a big responsibility and bringing about responsible fiscal change is no small feat in these tough economic times and the impact on small businesses. I do consider this a wonderful opportunity and challenge for which I would thrive if elected.”
For her campaign, Witt has emphasized “advocation”, to plead in favour of a cause, idea, or policy, and being a voice to serve the community and its citizens, which she concedes is a “huge responsibility." With that, she wants to be an advocate for bringing in more doctors into Innisfail and supporting enhanced seniors’ programs.
“During these tough economic times it has had an impact on our small businesses, and how we solve and do that at the council table? That gets me excited,” she said. “And also, economic growth and the growth at this time, and being a part of that. It’s what I stand for.”
Since coming to town she has partnered with her husband with a new security company after noticing a rising number of break-ins in the community. “There was just a need for it here in Innisfail,” said Witt.
As well, the security business experience, along with what has transpired on the streets through the current COVID-19 pandemic, has given her insight to other issues that have not yet been either discussed or even identified by other candidates. Witt said the mental health component around COVID can not be forgotten.
“I worry about people, and being a former human resources person do we have enough resources in this town?" she said, adding she wants the town to be more proactive in dealing with mental health. “And proactively have a program available for folks to be able to phone in, reach out and talk to. With that, it splinters off into the homeless issue here in Innisfail. We don’t have a homeless shelter here.”
Despite the problematic issues around COVID, as well as ones with the ongoing battered Alberta economy, Witt maintains she’s still “very, very hopeful and optimistic” for the town’s future.
“There are some businesses in town that are flourishing through this,” she said. “There are others that are at the other end of the spectrum but I believe I can see light at end of the tunnel. I am a very compassionate and optimistic person.”