Longest running elected official in Airdrie announces intention to seek re-election
Alderman Fred Burley is hoping to extend his political career by declaring his intention to run for his fifth consecutive term on City council.
Burley currently stands as the City of Airdrie’s longest serving council member in consecutive years, having held an alderman position since he was appointed in the 2002 by-election that was called in December of 2001 when Melanie Hall-Szyszkiewicz stepped down.
Alderman Murray Buchanan is the only member of council with more experience, having served from 1986 to 2004 concurrently, and re-elected in 2010.
The decision to run for a fifth term was an easy one, according to Burley, who has been a resident of Airdrie for more than 20 years.
“I still love this city and I’m still very passionate about this job,” said Burley.
Since joining council in 2002, Burley has served under three mayors: Dan O’Neil, Linda Bruce and current mayor Peter Brown; he has seen aldermen come and go and says the current group has some of the most varied opinions of any he has been a part of in his 11 years.
“This is a very diverse council that we have right now but that’s a great thing to have,” said Burley. “You don’t want everyone to be of the same mind, you need a difference of opinions in the decision making process.”
The 55-year-old moved to Airdrie from Sherwood Park, AB, more than 20 years ago with his wife of 30 years, Sharon. Burley has two children, 22-year-old Jacob and 18-year-old Katie.
By day, Burley owns and operates Innovative Bed Systems Inc. in Airdrie, a family-owned business that he started in 2004.
With 11 years of City council experience, Burley is aware he has become a familiar name and face in the community but he still intends to campaign just as hard as he would if it were his first time running.
“I never take anything for granted when it comes to this position,” said Burley. “I’ll still be out there knocking on doors and talking to people and doing everything I can to have my name out there.”
Burley has seen plenty of change in the city and he says there are more changes yet to come in the next four-year term.
“There’s been a lot of change to the city and you can see it just by looking around,” said Burley.
“Our infrastructure is far superior to what it was five years ago, but there’s still work to be done; health care and education are still top priorities. A 24-hour healthcare facility is still a goal, we need new schools and we are being heard at the provincial level so these things are coming.”
Burley is confident that through continued lobbying to the Province, the city will have a 24-hour health facility some time in the near future and says it’s a major goal for the next term.
Burley, along with Alderman Ron Chapman, are the first incumbents to declare their intentions to seek re-election. (See story on page 11).
“We’ve already seen quite a few people put their names in for City council and I’m sure that we’ll see a lot more candidates come forward,” said Burley.
“It’s great to see that so many people are passionate about the city.”
Burley can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org