Councillor Searle Turton is announcing his intention to earn the UCP nomination for Stony Plain-Spruce Grove.
Earlier today, Spruce Grove city councillor Searle Turton announced his intentions to enter provincial politics and is aiming to becoming the nominee for the United Conservative Party for the riding of Stony Plain-Spruce Grove in the next provincial election, slated for 2019. Turton was recently re-elected to his 3rd term on Spruce Grove Council, garnering the second-most support among all then-alderman candidates.
"One of the greatest privileges of my life has been to serve the residents of Spruce Grove as a city councillor. It;s definitely a role and responsibility that I take extremely seriously," Turton tells One News in an exclusive interview, but elaborates he feels he can do more beyond the municipal level for residents after hearing about concerns regarding taxation, educational choices and job losses for those who work in the coal industry in the area.
"When I hear these concerns, I keep telling them I can't help them on a municipal level. I can only advocate and bring concerns to higher levels of government, but I'm just hearing more and more of these concerns. Our community is hurting," adds Turton. "I've decided I can no longer remain silent on these issues. As a municipal councillor I can only do so much and our residents deserve a stronger voice."
The riding of Stony Plain-Spruce Grove will be a first time riding in the next provincial election, with Spruce Grove currently paired with St. Albert. Turton believes despite being a long time councillor and resident in Spruce Grove, he's no stranger to the issues important to residents in the Town of Stony Plain.
"I've been in this area for over twenty years. I graduated from high school here, I'm in Stony Plain every couple of days. My one son goes to preschool in Stony Plain, my other son plays for Stony Plain Soccer," says Turton. "One of the approaches I've used as a city councillor is we really are one unified region and our residents don't know where one border starts and another one ends."
As for the timeline of this process, the UCP annual general meeting is this upcoming May and there's no deadline for official candidate registration. While seeking the nomination, Turton expects his duties as a city councillor will not be affected and has also received support from the other members of the current city council.
"I don't expect any changes, my number one priority is to stay as a city councillor and maintain the good work I've been doing over the last 7 years for the residents of Spruce Grove," notes Turton. "If successful in the nomination, I would just scale back my daytime work commitments."
Despite his good intentions, Turton does acknowledge some may be disappointed in the chance he may be leaving Spruce Grove Council shortly after the start of his 3rd term but he feels seeking a higher office is a way for him to offer a higher level of service.
"Serving as an MLA in the area is just a higher degree of service. Over the last decade or so, I've been serving this community in any way possible to make sure they have a strong voice and a good representative in the area. If elected as an MLA for the area, I would just continue that record of community service," says Turton.
To hear the full, unedited interview with Spruce Grove Councillor and UCP nominee hopeful Searle Turton, click here or click play on the file below: