OLDS — It could be back to the future for Judy Dahl on Oct. 18.
That’s the date of the 2021 municipal election and Dahl, who served the community as mayor for 13 years, has decided to run for the job again after a four-year hiatus from the post.
So far, she’s being opposed by just one other candidate for mayor: incumbent Mike Muzychka.
Muzychka won the job during the 2017 election when Dahl initially filed nomination papers but withdrew after Muzychka stepped forward to run for that position.
Before serving as mayor, Dahl was a town employee back in the 1990s.
Dahl said she’s running again after a four-year absence because as far back as a year ago, many town residents encouraged her to do so and offered to help out in her campaign if she did.
She said she also enjoys serving the community on council.
“I’ve been doing this since 1990, whether by an employee working with mayors and administration of the day or as mayor working on council with my team, my council team,” she said.
“And it seasons you. It’s a seed inside. And it’s just like anybody else, and I’ve gone around and asked other people, ‘well you’re a professional photographer. If you leave that, how would you feel?’ And they say, ‘well, it never leaves you,’ you know? And I feel the same way.
“I guess my experience in municipal government and politics as a seasoned mayor says I’m ready to have another go at serving the community I call home, support and love. Because I support everybody in Olds, as far as business.
“I don’t have any reason not to, let’s put it that way,” she added.
Dahl was asked if the controversy over plans by the current council to turn the assets of Olds Institute – including O-NET, the locally-operated TV, phone and internet service – into a municipally-owned corporation to relieve debt pressure was a factor in her decision to run.
“Not whatsoever,” she said. “The council of the day is the council of the day. And I am not privy to any evidence-based facts and that had nothing to do with my decision.”
She was asked if the town’s debt level was a factor in her decision.
As of January this year, that level was $35,936,803.60. The debt limit is only calculated once a year and thus is always a year behind, finance director Sheena Linderman said in an email at that time.
“Well everything is a concern of mine when I have the facts and I know what’s actually going on,” Dahl said.
“Today, I have lots of things that I’m interested in. I’m not saying anything’s a concern though, because why would it be? I don’t have reason to think that.”
Dahl said she does have goals she’d like to accomplish if she does win the mayor’s seat but she said now is not the time to reveal them.
"Absolutely, I have key messages. But right now, I think, as other candidates are, we’re just focusing on our nomination papers and our goal to let the public know who’s in line for running for council, or letting their names stand,” she said.
“Yes, I’m working as we speak on those things every day. It’s quite early. I really truly respect (that) the federal government is having an election right now and I don’t want to interfere with that.
“It’s what it is and you work around it. And there’s really nothing you can do until Sept. 20. No signs in the ground or anything.”
Dahl said she had “copious” discussions with her husband Randy and other family members as well as the general public before making the final decision to run.
"It really encouraged me to know that generally, people would see within my heart my desire and good intentions to be once again a voice on council,” she said.