One look at Searle Turton’s progression through childhood and it would be no surprise that right about now, at age 32, he’d have the title Alderman in front of his name.
As a kid in Saskatchewan, Searle would listen in the evening to radio talks from social-conservative politicians and commentators, fascinated by discussions of business, economic independence and nationalism. He loved debating government issues in his classes.
Along with his fresh marriage certificate, at age 21 he carried a membership card for the Canadian Alliance Party. Since then, he’s been a deeply involved volunteer in eight election campaigns, including Edmonton Conservative MP Laurie Hawn’s last two successful runs.
His parents and relatives also taught him the value of hard work and union membership, which is why, today, Searle is Aluma Systems’ maintenance foreman at the Sundance Power Plant.
But the demands of a 40-50 hour work week haven’t dampened his commitment to politics. Searle is a former Local 1325 trustee and a current delegate to Regional Council.
He also spends 15 to 20 hours a week serving the 24,000 people of Spruce Grove as an alderman on City Council.
He and his wife Amy moved into Spruce Grove in order to raise their son Aiden, 5, in a kid-friendly town. ‘The biggest demographic group in Spruce Grove is 0 to 5 years, so it was the perfect place to be with growing children,’ he says.
He decided to run in the 2010 municipal election ‘to bring some youth, energy and fresh ideas to City Council, and to work to make it an even better community for our son.’
‘I was one weekend short of knocking on every door in Spruce Grove,’ he says of the five-week campaign run during which he wore out a pair of shoes.
Searle not only won, but he won big! He placed second in a field of 10 candidates, five of whom were incumbents running for reelection.
He says Mayor Stuart Houston, a former ironworker, has been most accommodating of his blue-collar job requirements.
‘The rest of Council are retired or in business for themselves, so they’re flexible enough to handle daytime committee meetings. Our Council positions are part-time, so he arranged my committee assignments so that the ones I sit on are those with evening meetings.’
‘I think I’ve brought new ideas, new energy and a perspective that comes from my blue collar background.
‘My position in the political world has allowed me to promote labour issues with many other politicians at all three levels of government,’ he says.
Let this guy put a couple of terms as an alderman under his belt, then watch his career, folks.
There’s an intelligent focus to Searle, the kind of focus that says he knows what believes, he knows what he wants, and he’s learning everything he can along to way to getting there.
(Story posted September 2012)