Former St. Albert city councillor and current teacher Neil Korotash has been selected as the Alberta Party candidate for the Morinville-St. Albert riding.
On Sunday, Korotash beat out fellow educator Wayne Rufiange as local members of the riding voted on the person who will represent the party in the 2019 provincial election.
The two-term St. Albert city councillor, who was first elected in 2001 at the age of 21, said the biggest issue facing the riding and the province is the economy.
“The number one issue is getting our resources to market and getting our economy going again,” Korotash said.
“We need to move forward with phase two and three of the (Sturgeon Refinery). That is a huge thing for Morinville-St. Albert that would create a ton of jobs and help achieve the province’s goals of trying to get our product to market."
Along with an eye on the economy, Korotash said the riding needs to get Ray Gibbon Drive twinned to help ease traffic woes. Although the road isn’t in the Morinville-St. Albert riding, the MLA-hopeful said many residents still use the road on their daily commutes.
“The long-term plan for Ray Gibbon Drive is to come around and connect to Highway 2,” Korotash explained.
Right now, the City of St. Albert has earmarked money to begin to pay for the twinning process, but Korotash said the province needs to take the project over and fund the twinning.
“It is part of the provincial highway network and something that Premier Stelmach committed to way back when I was on city council.”
Korotash, who is a former member of the PC party and ran for the Spruce Grove-St. Albert nomination in the last provincial election, said the Alberta Party also has a focus on making things easier for small businesses. He said he is hearing from small businesses and producers right now that the current levels of government are being hard on them by introducing minimum wage increases, a carbon tax, trade agreements, Bill 6 and changes to employment standards.
“There has been a lot of changes to and a lot of (added) expenses for small business owners. And so the Alberta Party wants to reduce some of those expenses, reduce some of the red tape for small businesses,” Korotash said.
The father said the three-seat Alberta Party is different from the other two big provincial political parties because it believes in "doing politics differently."
"I think for me, it comes down to values. We value our diversity and our differences in the province and protecting human rights," Korotash said.
So far, the Alberta Party has nominated 60 candidates to run in the province's total of 87 ridings. The UCP is in the lead with 79 candidates nominated, while the NDP has selected 40 of their 87 candidates. The Green Party has eight candidates selected, while both the Alberta Advantage Party and Freedom Conservative Party have selected one candidate. The Alberta Liberal Party has 12 candidates ready for the 2019 election.
Korotash will face off against UCP candidate Dale Nally and NDP candidate Shawna Gawreluck sometime in the spring.
Right now, there are no Alberta Party candidates for the St. Albert riding.