The list of people aiming to replace local MLA Ken Kowalski expanded yet again this week with two more candidates announcing they plan to seek the party’s nomination.
Morinville mayor Lloyd Bertschi announced his plans to run as did Westlock County councillor Bert Seatter.
Those two join Westlock town councillor David Truckey, Westlock County councillor Maureen Kubinec and Tim Schultz, who is an executive assistant to Deputy Premier Doug Horner.
Bertschi, who is now in his fourth term as mayor, announced his intentions Tuesday as the nomination period opened up. He said that, after working for Morinville for as long as he has, he feels ready to move on to bigger projects.
“I have looked after my little corner of the world very well and I was born and raised in Alberta and I think the opportunity in front of this province is absolutely fantastic and I want to be part of the team that leads us through it,” he said.
Bertschi said a bid for a provincial seat has been on his mind since he first heard Kowalski might not be in the race.
He said running in such a large riding is going to be a significant challenge, but he is confident he can become well-known in Barrhead and Westlock.
“I had a lot of people call me from every corner of the riding encouraging me to run, so hopefully now I can put them to work,” he said.
Bertschi served on council for two terms prior to running for mayor and was president of the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association.
Seatter is now in his third term as a Westlock County councillor and said he is interested in taking this next step.
“I’ve been thinking about it for quite some time,” he said. “When we sat down and looked at it — the community involvement that I’ve had over the years and experience — I was quite surprised to see how many different types of committees and things I’ve been on.”
He said his involvement with municipal politics is a plus.
“On a council, no one is representing a party or a party platform or a party philosophy,” he said. “Provincial and federal are both very similar in that now you are part of a group that has policy, that has a philosophy, that has a way that they want to do things.”
He said there is no party that one will agree with 100 per cent of the time and that it is of utmost importance to represent ratepayers — something he said is the same in municipal politics.
Seatter said he’s concerned about rural education and health care and wants to ensure Alberta continues to give opportunities to rural schools.
“(The education system) is still right near the best, if not the best, education system in the world,” he said. “But you have to stay a step ahead all the time and the rural school system, especially is really starting to hurt.”
Seatter conceded he is not well-known in all parts of the riding, but said he intends to work on that.
“I do have some relatives in Morinville, but not as strong a showing as some of the other areas,” he said.
The party’s nomination contest is set for Jan. 28.