The former chair of the REAL board says she plans to enter the race to become the next mayor of Regina.
Sandra Masters announced her mayoral bid at the Cathedral Social Hall on Wednesday, becoming the eighth person, and the first woman, to announce their intention to run for mayor in the November civic election.
Masters, who has lived in Regina since 1999, also announced that because of her run for mayor, she'll be resigning from the board of the Regina Exhibition Association Limited (REAL), the not-for-profit corporation that operates Evraz Place. She was serving her third term on the board.
Masters has also been the vice-president of Hockey Regina and president of the Parent Teacher Association at Lakeview Elementary School, and currently works for Richardson Agriculture as manager of credit for the Prairie provinces.
"I've had the opportunity to contribute to our community in many ways. Through these experiences, I've come to realize that our city has so much potential, but we need a vision and a strong voice to fully realize it," Masters said.
She said her campaign has four main priorities, including ensuring value for tax dollars, building a vibrant downtown, bringing in new economic development and supporting the Regina Police Service.
Masters praised police Chief Evan Bray as one of the best in the country, and said it's also important to work with community service providers to help with underlying issues.
"[Police] deserve our respect and our support. And I believe one of the ways that we can achieve safer homes and safer streets in our city is by supporting the groups in their efforts with proactive policing, harm reduction and improved community relations," she said.
Masters said the city should develop a strategy on poverty reduction, which would also help address addiction and mental health issues in the city.
Masters also said the city needs to focus its budget priorities so people get the most from their tax dollars, and needs to look into how to change its budgeting strategy.
"Multi-year budgeting is and isn't a new concept, and many other municipalities are already doing it. It's time we take a serious look at it, and I want us to be bold on this issue."
Masters said her personal life experience from raising four children as a single mother, while having a career, shows she knows how to work hard and make tough decisions.
"This is a significant opportunity for our community to grow together," Masters said.
"I can't stand here today and tell you that I have all the answers. What I can tell you is this: I'm here today because I believe in this city. I'm here today because I believe in what this city can be."
Darren Bradley, Jim Elliott, Tony Fiacco, Jerry Flegel, Michael Fougere, Mitchell Howse and George Wooldridge have also announced their intentions to run for mayor.
Official city nominations are open from Sept. 22 to Oct. 7. The municipal election will be held on Nov. 9.