The first NDP candidate has launched a nomination campaign in the Morinville-St. Albert riding.
Shawna Gawreluck, a resident of the region for over 15 years, is running for the NDP nomination in the newly formed riding that captures the northeast region of St. Albert, the town of Morinville and surrounding area.
The medical laboratory technologist works in transfusion medicine and also owns a small business. Gawreluck also owns an outdoor construction company with her husband where she does payroll and other paperwork.
The mom of three said that her business experience helps her relate to other business owners in the region.
“When we talk about how political decisions affect business I know what that is like,” Gawreluck said.
When the Bellerose High School graduate is not working and raising her kids, Gawreluck is able to put her economics degree to good use as the chair of the Sturgeon County Economic Advisory Board. She also volunteers with Community Options, a non-profit that provides services like speech pathologists and rehab therapists for children.
Gawreluck said that the biggest issues facing the riding are the price of oil and keeping jobs in the heartland area. She also wants to see funding for education and healthcare continue.
This will be Gawreluck's second swing at a political seat after getting her feet wet in the federal byelection in the fall. The lab tech finished in third place with 7.7 per cent of the vote, with Conservative candidate Dane Lloyd finishing in first place with 77.4 per cent of the vote and Liberal candidate Brian Gold in second with 12 per cent.
The business owner that her passion for politics started when the former Progressive Conservative government wanted to privatize the lab services after she had just started in the profession.
“I was looking at my coworkers and my coworkers were terrified because they had been through this before,” Gawreluck added that they had seen the move before and many of the employees had lost the pension.
As she became more engaged in politics she found more issues that were negatively impacting the people around her and wanted to help them out. In 2015 she joined the NDP to try to impact change in her community.
So far Gawreluck is running unopposed in the riding for the NDP nomination although incumbents in the region, like Trevor Horne from Spruce Grove-St. Albert have yet to declare which riding they will run in during the election.
St. Albert MLA Marie Renaud is seeking the nomination for the St. Albert riding.
While the current crop of candidates for regional NDP ridings are slim so far, the UCP has a slew of candidates vying for seats. Candidates for the new United Conservative Party have already filed paperwork and declared their intentions to run in the St. Albert, Morinville-St. Albert and Lac Ste. Anne-Parkland ridings.
Current Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock UCP MLA Glenn van Dijken has already submitted his paperwork to run in the new Athabasca-Barrhead-Westlock riding.
Donald Rigney, Amber Harris, Trina Jones, Dale Nally and Joseph Gosselin have all submitted their paperwork to run under the UCP banner in Morinville-St. Albert.
The new riding of Lac Ste. Anne-Parkland, which is home to part of Sturgeon County, has five contestants running for the UCP nomination in the riding. Jerry Molnar, Leah Wood, Everett Normandeau, Dale Johnson and Barbara Costache have all submitted their paperwork with the province.
Nomination races are expected to take place through the summer and fall.