Although there is still one year before the next provincial election, many potential candidates are already preparing to run in the upcoming race.
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.
In St. Albert, former UCP interim president Jeff Wedman has put his name forward for the nomination race.
Wedman is no stranger to politics. The police officer first got his feet wet in the last provincial election running for the PC nomination against Stephen Khan and Jacquie Hansen. The husband and father became a member of the Progressive Conservative party in 2011 and as a lifelong political junkie he decided to jump in and run for the nomination.
The father of two spent most of his career as a pilot in the Canadian Forces. Wedman signed up for the military in Grade 12 and spend his university years at Royal Roads Military College studying history and international politics. Throughout his military career Wedman served in Bosnia and Afghanistan.
In 2011, the Braeside resident retired from the military to be able to spend more time with his family and he started a new career with the Edmonton Police Service. Wedman said that the best part of both of his careers has been serving the public.
After moving around Alberta in the military for many years Wedman and his family moved to St. Albert in 2008. They were first drawn drawn in by the tree-lined streets and walking trails and the small town atmosphere was what made the city feel like home.
The police officer said that the biggest issues facing the riding are the debt and the deficit in the province.
“We have to get realistic within our finances because we are spending ourselves into the hole. We absolutely have to start working towards balancing that budget. It’s not something that is going to happen overnight,” Wedman said.
Wedman said that between now and the election he plans to spend his time door-knocking and doing more listening than talking.
“This is not something I am doing lightly. If you want to do it right you have to be willing to be able to put the time and the effort into it,” Wedman said.
So far nobody else has put forward their name for the St. Albert constituency UCP nomination race.
Current Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock UCP MLA Glenn van Dijken has already submitted his paperwork to run in the new Athabasca-Barrhead-Westlock riding.
Amber Harris, a current town councillor for Gibbons, has also filed her paperwork with the province for the Morinville-St. Albert riding under the UCP banner. Donald Rigney, the former mayor of Sturgeon County, has submitted paperwork to run for the UCP in the Morinville-St. Albert riding.
The new riding of Lac Ste. Anne-Parkland, which is home to part of Sturgeon County, has two contestants running for the UPC nomination in the riding. Jerry Molnar and Leah Wood have both submitted their paperwork with the province.
Nomination races are expected to take place through the summer and fall.