INNISFAIL – During the time he had on the online municipal election forum this month Van Stonehocker assured his audience they were hearing from a great selection of candidates who would all serve the community well.
“I was quite impressed with all the candidates. I thought it was a fairly good group and whoever gets in we should be in decent hands,” said Stonehocker
The 54-year-old long-time Innisfailian can now add his name to that list as well. He was the last Innisfailian to add his name to the local 2021 general municipal election race, but he is certainly no stranger to town.
Stonehocker has been a resident in Innisfail for more than 45 years. He has quietly but absolutely been always committed to his community. He is married to Leona and they have two children: 22-year-old son Kyle and 18-year-old daughter Reana.
An electrician by trade, he has been the maintenance supervisor for the Mountain View Regional Water Services Commission for the past three years. Previously he was in the oilfield industry.
Outside of work, Stonehocker has been active in the community for many years. He was a volunteer Innisfail firefighter for 17 years, and also a committed volunteer with Ducks Unlimited for 15 years.
And now he wants to serve the entire community he loves, and make a positive difference that will help the town turn around from the pandemic-driven gloom it has experienced.
“By just seeing the strife in the world I just want to be part of things moving forward and not just complaining about stuff going on,” he said, adding the recent gloom and division in town has made him sad and he wants to do his part to change it with positivity. “I definitely never thought I would have pictured it in my life, growing up in Innisfail and seeing the division is quite eye opening.”
He said he wants to be a “reasonable and positive voice” on council, and says his record shows he can easily get along with “multiple” types of personalities, noting in one past period of employment one cherished skill was helping other workers to get along.
“Everybody wanted their time on the project and they didn’t like working together and due to time constraints we had to get them to work together on the same thing,” said Stonehocker.
If elected, Stonehocker wants his positive voice to help propel Innisfail forward in growth and have it done in a fiscally responsible way.
“I’ve seen the town when I was kid with stop lights, and now I am seeing it move in a positive direction,” he said. “But I just think we need to get more business to Innisfail and just have a good sustainable community that spends money on infrastructure and keeps up with the times.”
As for COVID, he feels poorly for the businesses who have sacrificed so much over the past 20 months of the pandemic by having to shut down from the province’s mandated restrictions.
“I do believe COVID is a real thing. I don’t agree with the way it has been handled. Our provincial government has dropped the ball a few times,” he said, adding he agrees the town has had to comply with the provincially mandated guidelines.
But the highest priority for this candidate is to do his part to bring the community back together.
“That is very important for a community to be pulling on the rope in the same direction,” said Stonehocker, adding that even if he’s not chosen to serve this time around on his first try, he just might take another crack at it.
“Yes, I will probably try again next term.”