A local public school principal has entered the race to represent Ward 8 on Prince Albert’s city council.
Darren Solomon has announced his intention to run for the seat left vacant by departing councillor Ted Zurakowski. Solomon earned his Bachelor of Education from the University of Saskatchewan in 1994, then returned to complete his masters in 2007.
He has worked as an consultant on the Prince Albert Grand Council’s First Nation Student Success Program, and currently works as the principal at Little Red River School.
“A good city councillor has to be able to listen to the residents, (and) has to be able to solve problems,” Solomon said during an interview on Friday. “I think my background in education—and business before—certainly has given me some of those tools to solve problems and help people with the things that need to be done, and do so in a respectful and caring way.”
Solomon has lived in the Ward 8 area for the last 30 years, and said the community gave a lot to his family, which includes his wife Nicole and their four children. He credited Zurakowski for doing a great job and “leaving big shoes to fill”, and said the Ward’s next elected representative needs to bring enthusiasm and passion to the role.
“Obviously, the community has given a lot to me and my family and my children,” he said. “I just feel that this is one way of giving back and serving the community that’s given us so much.”
Solomon identified inflation, economic management, and crime as the three issues he’s hearing about the most from Ward 8 residents.
On inflation, he said rising costs are hitting residents hard at home, but it will also cause challenges for the City if it wants to keep taxes down.
Solomon said he’s encouraged by recent economic developments, like the new indoor aquatic centre, but said managing those assets will require sound fiscal management and the ability to make tough decisions.
“The aquatics centre, the hospital, the new apartment buildings out in the yard, all of those things are great things to see in the city,” he said. “I do think that managing that growth and doing so in a responsible way is going to pose some challenges moving forward in the short term, and possibly long term as well.”
Solomon said crime is something all Prince Albert residents are concerned about. He noted Mayor Greg Dionne’s comments about bail reform at the recent Chamber of Commerce Luncheon, and said city council could push for changes.
However, he also said the City needs to rely on its partners to fight homelessness, addictions, and other areas that feed into the cycle of poverty.
In addition to his work as a principal, Solomon is actively involved in local slo-pitch, flag football, bowling, and volleyball leagues with his wife. The pair are also avid golfers.
Solomon has also volunteered for a number of years with the Prince Albert Kinsmen Club.
Solomon is the third candidate to enter the Ward 8 race. Doug Erickson and Pamela Sukut have also declared their intention to run.
The Ward 8 seat became vacant in February when Coun. Ted Zurakowski stepped down after almost two decades in municipal politics. The by-election nomination period opened on Apr. 11 and will close on Apr. 26 at 4 p.m. The election is scheduled for May 31.