Jeff Wedman has earned the nod from local conservatives to represent the St. Albert riding's United Conservative Party (UCP) members in the upcoming provincial election.
Wedman, an Edmonton police officer who has served in the past as the interim president for the St. Albert UCP constituency association and was formerly the president for the local Progressive Conservative (PC) constituency association, is no stranger to politics. He ran for the PC nomination in the last provincial election against Stephen Khan and Jacquie Hansen.
The father of two said he is humbled to be selected by the constituency to represent the UCP in the riding and he is ready to hit the ground running for the second phase of the campaign.
“You realize phase two starts now and it's even bigger and more important and even more riding on that,” Wedman said.
“That was just one step amongst many to getting where we need to go.”
The police officer said his first order of business is uniting the conservatives in the St. Albert riding.
“Now, the first step is bringing all these people together ... and start putting that big team together that can run the big campaign and get the big win next spring,” Wedman said.
The former military pilot announced his campaign in April and door-knocked through the summer and fall. The biggest issue he is hearing about is the economy: he's heard from residents who are concerned about the myriad issues surrounding pipeline approval and development, the government not standing up for Alberta's oil sector and the overall investor confidence in the economy. The province's carbon tax is also a concern.
Wedman said the NDP government's handling of education and Bill 24, which makes it mandatory for schools to allow gay-straight alliance groups on campus and to protect the confidentially of those who join, are also top of mind for residents when he speaks with them on the doorsteps.
Wedman spent most of his career as a pilot in the Canadian Forces. He signed up for the military in Grade 12 and spend his university years at Royal Roads Military College, where he studied history and international politics. Throughout his military career, Wedman served in Bosnia and Afghanistan.
In 2011, Wedman retired from the military to be able to spend more time with his family. At that time, he started a new career with the Edmonton Police Service.
Wedman will likely be squaring off against an incumbent NDP MLA, with both Spruce Grove-St. Albert MLA Trevor Horne and St. Albert MLA Marie Renaud competing for the NDP nomination in the St. Albert riding.
He beat out local lawyer Brian Horak, former denturist Rodney Laliberte and resident Shelley Biermanski for the UCP nomination.
In the Morinville-St. Albert riding, Dale Nally earned the nomination to represent the UCP. The NDP have not nominated their candidate there yet; Shawna Gawreluck is currently the only one who has put her name forward.
The provincial election is slated to take place in the spring of 2019.