Nine months ago, Morgan Nagel knew he would seek a third term on Cochrane town council.
He's just made it official and is offering free lawn signs on his re-election website. He's the first of what is expected to be many, if not all, current town councillors announcing their intentions to seek re-election.
Now 31, Nagel was first elected at 23-years-old. He campaigned upon his beliefs in maintaining a small-town feel, controlling growth, prudent fiscal management, and roads, roads, roads.
These are still important to him, and he believes some headway has been made.
"I decided to run because I think Cochrane is really heading in the right direction. I really enjoy being part of moving Cochrane forward," says Nagel.
"I think I have a very strong track record. The electorate really asked for a lot of change in the last municipal election. For myself specifically, I ran on a message and promise to fix traffic, rein in the speed of residential development, and act fiscally responsible, and I believe we've done a really good job on all three of those fronts."
Beyond these points, he sees an opportunity for the town to invest in more outdoor recreation. He says one of the few good things coming out of the pandemic is how people are taking time to enjoy the outdoors.
"I think it's a great thing, and I think we should lean into that and be investing in outdoor recreation here in Cochrane."
He also sees the opportunity to invest further in the town's downtown core to complement the new transit hub/innovation centre and the pedestrian crossing into the Historic Downtown.
"I'd really like to see us continue in this path of trying to make a nice, vibrant downtown that really makes our downtown core a place that people love working, living, shopping, and recreating."
The recently completed corridor study is a step towards this and he would like to see action follow.
The drop in residential development in Cochrane coincided with the province's economic downturn and the pandemic. As the economy improves, it's quite likely to accelerate.
He says he will continue to take the same apprehensive approach towards approving further residential development but doesn't close the door on it entirely. He believes we already have enough high and medium-density developments approved but sees an opportunity for low-density and estate developments. He says their existence would drive up the values of all homes.
"People have to remember that there are thousands upon thousands of homes already approved. So when developers come back to the council chambers, we need to be thinking of the community first."
Nagel demonstrated his interest in Cochrane retaining its autonomy in his stance against joining the Calgary Metropolitan Region Board
He consistently voted against requiring the mandatory use of face masks during the pandemic and has strong views on personal freedoms and constitutional rights.
He says town councils haven't typically dealt with these issues in the past, but it is becoming more common.
"It's not something I hope to have to deal with, but if there is more talk about COVID lockdowns or increased regulations or anything like that, I will certainly be on the side of personal responsibility and personal freedom."
"I still aspire to this higher idea that we should all be able to live how we choose. Every adult should be able to choose their own destiny, and the government should stay out of our business as long as we're not harming anybody."
He believes society is moving very quickly in the wrong direction, and we're witnessing personal rights diminishing across the globe.
"So whatever role I can play on council in carrying the torch of independent liberty, I'd gladly serve that role. Ronald Reagan said, 'I believe freedom is always one generation away from disappearing' to paraphrase his quote."
In 2013, Nagel became the youngest town councillor elected since Truper McBride, who was also 23 when first elected in 2001.