Last Updated: Thursday - 09/30/2010
September 27, 2010
Edmonton trustee race draws 20 candidates
Incumbents face challengers in all city wards
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON - The race to elect a new board for the Edmonton Catholic School Division is on with 20 candidates vying for seven seats in the Oct. 18 municipal election. Unlike past elections, all incumbents are being challenged in their respective wards.
Debbie Engel, a trustee for 12 years, is seeking a fifth term in Ward 74.
"I absolutely love it," she said of the trustee position Sept. 20 at City Hall, where she was completing her nomination papers.
"One thing that I learned over 12 years is I learned how to facilitate much more easily education within the community. But most importantly, my deepest, deepest passion is my faith and kids."
Brad Lohner is challenging Engel on Ward 74, which covers the west end.
Incumbent trustee Becky Kallal, a former provincial president of the Catholic Women's League, is being challenged by Romeo Ochoa in Ward 71, which covers the city's northwest.
"I'm running again because this board was able to start a number of initiatives and I would like the chance to see more of them come to fruition," Kallal said at City Hall.
"What I've really enjoyed is talking to people and hearing their ideas on Catholic education and being able to feel that I'm bringing those back to a place where they can be effective."
Cindy Olsen is also seeking a second term in ward 73, which encompasses most of the former Ward 3. "I love what I'm doing," she said in an interview. "I love the variety. I love being in the community with the people and I love the political aspect (of the work)."
Olsen is being opposed by Jennifer Chahal and Cynthia Bossmin-Davis but is confident she'll end up victorious.
"To have a race in your ward I think is a really good thing because what it does it puts a focus on Catholic education. It brings the issues to the forefront and lets people know that Catholic education is important to the community."
Rudy Arcilla, incumbent for Ward 75, wants a second term to be able to build chapels, and possibly tabernacles, in as many schools as possible. Three new schools recently opened by the district "have chapels at my suggestion," he said.
The father of three is also concerned about the Catholicity of Catholic schools. "Everything they do must be permeated by Jesus' life and his teaching," he said.
Running against Arcilla are John Acheson and Lauri Friesen. "I'm happy the interest is high; that means people are aware of our system," Arcilla said.
Acheson, a former school administrator, is running to strengthen the identity of Catholic education.
Acheson said there is much good happening in the schools but would like to see the identity issue become front and centre "We have to define what Catholic schools are in 2010 and beyond."
Kara Pelech, incumbent for Ward 77 and a mother of four, decided to run again because she enjoyed the work the first time around. "It was a huge learning experience and I feel that I got lots accomplished," she said. "I hope to continue to promote our Catholic education and to lobby for equal funding."
Danny Kinal and Laura Thibert are also running in Ward 77.Following is a complete list of all trustee candidates by ward:
Becky Kallal and Romeo Ochoa
Larry Kowalczyk, Carla Smiley and Patricia Grell
Cindy Olsen, Jennifer Chahal and Cynthia Bossmin-Davis
Debbie Engel and Brad Lohner
Rudy Arcilla, John Acheson and Lauri Friesen
Marilyn Bergstra, Michael Savaryn, Catherine Schwabenbauer and Bev Heisler.
Kara Pelech, Danny Kinal and Laura Thibert.
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