A business owner who lives near Spring Lake has put his name forward for the UCP nomination in a Sturgeon County provincial riding.
Jerry Molnar, a Parkland County resident of eight years who lives by Spring Lake west of Stony Plain, is one of five candidates slated to run for the UCP nomination in the newly formed riding of Lac Ste. Anne-Parkland. The riding combines parts of four current ridings, including the west side of Sturgeon County.
Molnar grew up with a healthy interest in politics that spurred him to get both a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Master of Arts degree in political science.
A decade ago, he began to seriously delve into politics, getting involved with the Wildrose Party shortly after it merged with the Alberta Alliance Party in 2008. He began working for Danielle Smith's leadership office in Edmonton and helped form the Edmonton-Meadowlark constituency association, at one point serving as its president.
When he moved out to the country in 2010, he joined the Stony Plain constituency association and spent a stint as its president as well.
"I've always been a strong fiscal conservative," Molnar said, adding UCP leader Jason Kenney's vision of a "right-of-centre, big-tent conservative party" appealed to him.
While Molnar has always been passionate about politics, and in the past sought the nomination for the Wildrose Party, seeing the impacts of NDP policies such as the carbon tax pushed him to the point of jumping into the race.
Molnar owns and operates an autobody shop in Edmonton as well as a property management company. Both have felt the impact of the carbon tax.
"It affects every single thing that you can possibly think of," he said, adding he's been frustrated by a lack of information on how the tax is actually helping to reduce GHG emissions.
"For me, I find this to be absolutely ridiculous and I want to fight to get rid of it."
Carbon tax aside, Molnar also opposes the planned phase-out of coal-fired power plants. Parkland County is home to six plants and one coal mine, and recently announced it would be cutting its operating budget because of the financial pressure from the planned coal phase-out.
Molnar wants to stop the phase-out in its tracks.
"I want to see (the plants) up and running. I would steer clear from any type of coal phase-out," he said.
Other issues he said are facing the riding include the uptick in rural crime, which he lays at the feet of the economic downturn, and Bill 6, which Molnar says has affected many agricultural families in his area.
Molnar is one of five candidates running for the UCP nomination in the new riding of Lac Ste. Anne-Parkland. Molnar is facing off against Everett Normandeau, Leah Wood, Dale Johnson and Barbara Costache.
In the Morinville-St. Albert riding, five candidates are vying for the UCP nomination, including Joe Gosselin, Donald Rigney, Amber Harris, Trina Jones and Dale Nally.
Shawna Gawreluck is the only NDP candidate seeking nomination in the same riding, although incumbents such as Trevor Horne from Spruce Grove-St. Albert have yet to declare which riding they will run in during the election.
St. Albert MLA Marie Renaud is seeking the NDP nomination in the St. Albert riding.
Current Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock MLA Glenn van Dijken has secured the UCP nomination for the next election. Van Dijken is running in the Athabasca-Barrhead-Westlock riding after the ridings were redrawn in 2017 and his current riding, Barrhead-Morinville-Westlock, was divided.