OUTLOOK - Dana Skoropad, the local Saskatchewan Party MLA for Arm River that includes the town of Outlook and communities on the east side of the South Saskatchewan River, is doing his best to keep himself up to date on the issues affecting everyday residents of his riding.
In order to help accomplish that, Skoropad has made himself available to Outlook citizens in-person at the town offices building, where for one day each month, he'll be around for anyone wanting to drop by for a talk or to hear what's important to the people of his constituency.
This being the second edition of his open house event, Skoropad says the things that people are coming to him about vary in nature.
"It's a variety of things," said Dana. "Some people are just coming in to meet their MLA, and I guess that's why I'm here. I always think that if I have an opportunity to see someone and even have a casual or informal conversation, I just feel that the more relationships I can make in the area, I think the better representation I can be for the area. The more comfortable that people are with me, the more honest they'll be. Certainly, some people want to talk about COVID, and people also want to talk about what's going on in the area; the Diefenbaker project, the highways, the street out front. They want to know how I'm faring in my first year, and it's been really great. I remember on the night, way back when, and I spoke to Council and told them, 'You will see this face'. So I've tried to live up to that and tried to be here as much as I can."
Last month, Skoropad was in Outlook and the surrounding area alongside the Minister of Highways, Fred Bradshaw. Among the highlights of their itinerary were stopping at Gardiner Dam, as well as seeing what challenges lay ahead for the Outlook area, namely the road system.
Skoropad says the Minister got a clear picture of what Outlook and area is looking at right now.
"I have a great working relationship with Minister Bradshaw and the Ministry of Highways and WSA," he said. "He truly got a sense of what the area was. I wanted him to see the good that's happening out here, the optimism, and the opportunity that is out here. But I also wanted him to see some of the potential obstacles too, so I gave him a full and well-rounded picture. We visited some businesses where he could really see the potential of irrigation and where we look to step farther into expanding that. I wanted him to see where we're running into a few challenges because we're expecting it to be busier out here, quite frankly. We don't want it to be less busy out here, we want it to be busier. So, we looked at some infrastructure things and he showed that he was definitely the right guy to bring out here. He truly got a sense of the Outlook area, and that's what I wanted him to experience."
In addition, a meeting with Outlook's town council allowed the people governing this community to give Minister Bradshaw feedback in order to help provide a clearer picture of what the area needs in the future.
"Town council is very transparent, as I am," said Skoropad. "One of their concerns was the road coming through town, the connector road. How we navigate that, both in terms of how we're able to handle increased volume if that's what the case is going to be. As far as the condition of the road, it's a bit of a bumpy one, and so we talked about where that road would sit on the list of Highway's priorities, both short and long-term. We also talked about the bypass and took a look at that. The beautiful thing about the Minister is he's very much like I am - I like to see things firsthand. I like to feel with my hands and my feet and have a visual, and he's the same way. We stopped at many different places and truly got a sense of what's happening. It was a really good dialogue with Outlook town council."
Right now, Skoropad's schedule is keeping him busy in the communities that he represents, hearing what's important to people and working to give as much attention to things as possible. Still somewhat new to the political arena, he's gaining a better picture of what his role is in places such as Outlook.
"This is a big constituency, so what's keeping me busy is I'm trying my best to stay connected to all the communities and various projects that are going on," he said. "I cannot believe that it's almost been a year since I was elected, and my goal has always been to give as much attention to Outlook as I do to Raymore, as I do to Davidson, as I do to Siemens, and as I do to Hanley. I've certainly tried to do that, and I'm wearing out vehicles, but that's what's keeping me busy. Phone calls are coming into the office, and every phone call and message that comes in through there, I read. It's kept me very busy, but as I said during the election campaign, I see this as a calling, as a way of serving, and this is not a 9-5 job. I see this as being a seven-day-a-week job, and it hasn't disappointed. I'm trying not to disappoint by living up to my end."