CANDIDATE: Donna Semenoff (GF -- Mayor)

To see a list of all the available candidate profiles click here.

Please give a brief summary of who you are and why you have decided to run for office.

The City of Grand Forks is my home.  Born and raised here, I've kept returning - because of family, the friendliness of the people and the nourishing natural environment.  

I see stewardship (care) of the city I live in as a responsibility.  Due to my strong commitment to Grand Forks, I've decided to run for Mayor.  I humbly offer my skills, knowledge, experience and commitment to the citizens of this beautiful valley.  My intention is to do all that I can to keep Grand Forks a wonderful FABulous place to live!

What is your background? Have you held office before? What skills do you bring to the job if you are elected?

I have leadership and management experience as an educator, program coordinator, and residence advisor.  My responsibilities have included facilitating educational and recreational programs, enforcing safety regulations, supervising staff, and coordinating and conducting staff interviews.  I have also had international public speaking experience.

At University and College, I took courses that advanced my English grammar, interpretation of scientific studies, and communication skills.  English grammar abilities are useful for amending and developing local bylaws.  It is helpful to have skills in the interpretation of scientific studies, since studies are presented to Mayor and Council for consideration.  Communication skills are essential, since citizens and business people approach a Mayor with their ideas and concerns. 

I am deeply committed to the well being of all.  I would go the extra mile to do the research required to make well informed decisions - that includes reading required material and consulting with the public.  Making well informed decisions that consider risks and benefits short and long term are very important to me.

What do you think are the top three challenges facing the city in the upcoming term?

  1. Keeping the municipal government accountable to its residents in an extended 4 year term.  This year, the term for Mayor and Council has been increased from three years, to four years.  That means that if on the odd chance residents were not happy with the decisions City Council was making for them, they would have to wait longer before they could vote in a new Council.  Would Grand Forks residents like the reassurance that if a large group of citizens were concerned about a decision Council made, that there would be something they could do about it?
  2. Protecting the natural environment - keeping Grand Forks a healthy beautiful place to live.  
  3. Keeping Grand Forks affordable for citizens and businesses.

How do you plan on addressing these challenges?

1.  First, it's time to take action on the city's goal to work in partnership with all interested citizens, businesses, organizations and schools to achieve common, sustainable goals.

In particular, the GF Sustainable Community Plan included the proposal to, "Create a well-defined facilitated decision making process that is transparent and ensures accountability, and allows the community to weigh out the trade offs and consequences of the decisions." 

I believe that taking action on this goal and proposal would build trust in the community, help citizens to feel more secure and would contribute to peace.  As a mayor, I would ask the Council and Grand Forks citizens to submit their ideas for a decision-making process that would address this.  Approaches to consider could be Rossland's 1990's bylaw that gave its residents a more democratic process.  Also, in neighbouring Alberta, Yukon and the Northwest Territories, citizens have the ability to initiate binding petitions regarding their bylaws. 

Promoting constructive government-community relations helps keep Grand Forks FRIENDLY.

2.  I would recommend weighing the consequences to the environment (ex. water) in all decisions - including development, purchasing and programming.  The first step would be environmental education.  This is what is necessary to keep Grand Forks a healthy BEAUTIFUL place to live.

3.  To keep Grand Forks affordable for citizens and businesses, it's important to have clear financial priorities.  Trimming costs wherever possible and gathering as a community to brainstorm ideas for keeping taxes AFFORDABLE while offering excellent water, electricity, and road services would be the direction I would suggest. 

 

If you could describe yourself in three words what would they be?

 caring, creative, committed

What is the one thing that makes you stand out as a candidate? OR What is the one thing you want people to know about you? 

I am strongly committed to working as a TEAM to keep Grand Forks a FAB FAB FABulous place to live!

F - Friendly 

A - Affordable

B - Beautiful

A vote for Donna is a vote for increased democracy!

I strongly encourage everyone to come out and vote on November 15th!

It's your chance to have a say on who creates and votes on the bylaws (local laws).  It's also your chance to protect democracy.

Thank you to the Boundary Sentinel for creating a forum for Grand Forks citizens to make better informed choices come election day.

Feel free to contact me with any questions, comments or concerns.

donna.semenoff@gmail.com

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