Prince Albert counsellor seeks Ward 7 seat

Diana Wooden wants to advocate for the city’s residents and help the city grow in a positive direction

Diana Wooden is seeking the Ward 7 council seat in November's municipal election. Submitted photo.

A third candidate has entered the race for Ward 7.

Diana Wooden announced on Facebook Thursday that she is putting her name forward for this fall’s election.

Wooden moved to Prince Albert almost 20 years ago, moving into a home on 23rd Street East that she has lived in ever since.

Along with her husband, Wooden raised three daughters in the city, who went to King George and Carlton Comprehensive High School before moving on to university.

“We are still in the same house, in the same neighbourhood,” Wooden wrote in her announcement.

“We have always loved where we live and believe that it has been a safe place for families. I would like to be a voice for our community to be included in the positive change that is taking place.”

Anyone who knows me knows that I will put everything I can into this and be the best representative I can be! Please…

Posted by Diana Wooden on Wednesday, September 16, 2020

For the past 14 years, Wooden has worked as a counsellor in Prince Albert. In that role, she has seen how mental health and addictions affect people and heard first-hand the struggles faced and services needed.

Working on those underlying social issues will be one of her top priorities if she’s elected this fall.

“I’ve had a unique perspective, working with people from all age ranges and from different backgrounds in Prince Albert,” she said Friday.

“I realized that a lot of what people are struggling with within our community is mental health issues, addiction issues and some social issues. I’ve seen that first hand and I’ve heard the stories first hand. That would be what my focus and passion would be about — trying to help our citizens who are less fortunate or struggling … to find some positive solutions.”

That includes ensuring there is adequate affordable housing, she said, along with enough resources for young people who are struggling with mental health or addiction issues.

“What I hear from families is their young people are struggling because there is not a lot of long-term care for those who are addicted.”

Those are big issues, Wooden said, and she acknowledged they can’t be tackled by the city alone.

“It’s bigger than city council but we can advocate for our people. I want to see how we can (change it),” she said.

Wooden decided to run for council back in June.

She helped to organize the local Black Lives Matter rally in Memorial Square on June 6. It attracted hundreds of people, including the mayor and police chief, to protest against racism and police brutality.

Diana Wooden, who helped organize the demonstration in Prince Albert, stands with her first up during nearly nine minutes of silence at City Hall on June 6, 2020. (Jayda Noyes/Daily Herald)

They knelt for almost nine minutes in silence, fists in the air — the same amount of time George Floyd laid dying with a knee to his neck.

“The image of the officer’s knee on his neck is symbolic of the knee that has been on all Black people’s necks for over 400 years,” Wooden said at the rally.

“That knee signifies oppression; that knee is a symbol of injustice, intolerance, inequality in the workplace, lack of equal opportunity for Blacks in many sectors of society.”

That event led Wooden, who is Black, to realize the power of her own voice.

“I was able to talk to so many different people from Prince Albert and area. I realized that my voice in that rally was pretty significant. People really appreciated the energy brought to it and the attention brought to an issue that’s so important,” Wooden said.

“I began to realize I could use my voice for other issues around Prince Albert as well. That’s when I started thinking about running for city council.”

Wooden told her husband she was going to run, not knowing what was going to happen.

“I was very passionate about it.”

Since moving to Prince Albert 20 years ago, she’s seen the city, grow and change. She wants to help lead that growth and be a voice for the community to help lead that change in a positive direction. The city, she said, is also growing more diverse, and its council should reflect that.

“Prince Albert is more culturally and racially diverse than ever and the face of our city council needs to be reflective of this,” she said.

“It’s so important for us to be representative of our city so people can see there is diversity within our city and our council as well.”

Wooden is the third candidate to declare candidacy for Ward 7. Retired principal Dawn Kilmer and stay-at-home dad Liam Dougherty have also put their names forward for the seat.

The ward, which consists of the East Hill neighbourhood and runs along the east side of Central Ave., is currently represented by Coun. Dennis Nowoselsky.

Nowoselsky, though, is running for mayor and won’t be seeking to return to his role as ward councillor.

The municipal election is set for Nov. 9