Stettler MLA welcomes new UCP leader

New party starts fall session without new leader

Stettler’s MLA believes the United Conservative Party’s new leader Jason Kenney will bring a different perspective to the province.

The former Conservative cabinet minister took home a decisive victory over the weekend, winning 61 per cent of the membership vote on the first ballot. Challengers Brian Jean, the former leader of the Wildrose Party, and Doug Schweitzer received approximately 31 per cent and 7 per cent, respectfully.

Rick Strankman, the UCP MLA for Drumheller-Stettler, welcomed the news and said Kenney brings with him a great deal of experience.

“He is going to give a different scope and I’m pleased to be a part of the experience,” he said. “Because of his federal experience, he has a more nationalistic view. He has been involved in both creating and acting as opposition for federal policy.”

Strankman also credited Kenney for his work at the provincial level when he was with the

Coming from his provincial experience from the Taxpayers Federation where he challenged former premier Ralph Klein. That experience also allowed Kenney to understand grassroots movement better, he said.

According to the UCP, 63,000 out of 106,000 members registered to vote. With Kenney taking the vast majority of votes, Strankman said it shows the party wanted a strong and experienced leader.

Despite winning the leadership, Kenney still doesn’t have a seat at the legislature. That will soon change as just a day after he was elected leader, Calgary-Lougheed MLA Dave Rodney announced he would be stepping down so Kenney could run in a byelection.

In the media release announcing Rodney’s retirement plans, the UCP was quick to mention that it is common place for a newly-elected party leader to look for a seat in the legislature and specifically mentioned other politicians like former prime minister Jean Chrétien and Ontario Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown.

Strankman said how Kenney fares will be an indicator on how Albertans feel about his leadership.

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