Shaunavon resident Joel Sopp has entered the race to fill the council seat that opened up after alderman Mark Benesh stepped down earlier this year.
Sopp was a candidate in the last municipal election, but lost to long-time local politician Sharon Dickie in the race for the mayor’s chair in the fall of 2012. Sopp garnered 37 per cent of the vote in the mayoral race, getting 233 votes of the 624 ballots cast in 2012. “When I heard that there was a seat open for Shaunavon Town Council, I saw a great opportunity to be able to give back to Shaunavon, which is the same reason I ran for the Mayor’s seat in 2012,” he stated. Sopp, an Insurance Advisor with RBC Royal Bank Insurance, believes he has the skills and qualifications to help Shaunavon continue on its current path of growth and revitalization. “My goal with this role as a Councillor is to work with Mayor Dickie and the current council to make Shaunavon a stronger and more vibrant community, attract new businesses and people,” commented Sopp. Sopp spent time serving as a council member in Redvers before moving to Shaunavon. He is also a volunteer member of the Shaunavon Fire Department. “While it’s true that anyone in Shaunavon or the entire Southwest can make a difference, regardless of if they are involved in municipal government, I feel I can be an asset to Town Council with the experience I bring from my time on Redvers Town Council in the South East,” said Sopp. Benesh moved to Shaunavon just over 20 years ago. He was the longtime principal at Shaunavon High School before accepting a position as the Hutterian Coordinator for the Chinook School Division several years ago. He served three previous terms during a 12 year stint on council before being re-elected to office again in October of 2012. During his almost 14 years on council he served in many capacities, including time as the chairman of both the administration and Wellness and Leisure committees. Sopp’s wife Shelley, is an RBC Royal Bank Small Business Account Manager. The couple has two children, Braiden (14 years old) and Logan (9 years old).