As an expected provincial election draws near, two local businessmen have announced their intentions to run in the upcoming nomination race, vying to become the PC candidate for the Lacombe-Ponoka constituency in the next provincial election.
Former Wildrose party and current Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Rod Fox is also expected to run for the nomination when it opens up in the next few weeks, although Fox has not officially announced his intentions.
Local businessman Peter DeWit officially announced his intention to run in the upcoming nomination race on Jan. 26th.
“I decided a long time ago that I wanted to get involved in provincial politics and I believe that we need strong leadership for our constituency, especially during the challenging economic times that might be ahead,” said DeWit in a press release.
DeWit is a long-time resident of the Lacombe area and has been involved in many aspects of business and the community.
“Many residents have encouraged me to step up to the plate and use my experience and skills to get things done for the constituency,” he said. “The government is facing some unprecedented challenges and with all the changes in the government caucus, does it make sense to call the election early? Nobody seems to know the answer to the question, but if it happens, we will be ready for it.”
Larry Henkelman, businessman and former mayor of Ponoka, has also confirmed his intention to seek the PC nomination.
“People have approached me to get involved and let my name stand,” he told the Express on Jan. 27th.
In pursuance of the PC nomination, Henkelman had to step down from association president of the PC constituency, which represents Blackfalds, Clive, Alix, Ponoka and Lacombe.
Henkelman served as the Mayor of Ponoka for nine years and sat as a council member for 12 years. He said he’s always been interested in politics, both municipal and provincial, and offers up his immense experience in municipal politics.
“In regards to the condition and present situation of the Alberta government and not only that, but with the economy in general, with my experience, I have a lot to offer,” he said.
Henkelman said with his experience in municipal government, he has the ability to work alongside the various municipalities within the constituency.
He is also no stranger to balancing tough budgets or business administration, as Henkelman has run a prominent business in Ponoka for many years.
“I know how to work with an up and down budget,” he said. “I have experience coming through some tough times, where as a municipality we had to try and balance our budgets.
“I’m very excited to get to work and I look forward to it,” he added.
An open nomination race will be held and local PC members will endorse which candidate they believe should represent the PC party during the next provincial election.
The Lacombe-Ponoka PC constituency nomination meeting is tentatively set for March 7th.
The provincial PC party intends to have candidates in place for all 87 constituencies by March 15th ahead of an election.