United Conservative Party (UCP) members have a newly elected nominee to represent Drumheller- Stettler in the 2019 provincial election.
Nate Horner won after receiving 969 out of 1709 votes – equal to 56 per cent of the vote.
The announcement was made in the Hanna Legion on Sat. Sept. 29 after three days of voting in six different locations across the riding.
Healing the wounds was the largest concern the nominee wishes to tackle between now and election time in May next year.
“It feels very good,” began Horner. “It’s been a long battle and I do want to focus on healing the wounds that were kind of created through this nomination process and the goal was always to focus on the unification and that’s definitely my goal now.
“We’ll learn from Mr. Strankman and whoever else will teach me because the goal is 2019 and that’s why we are here.”
Horner has always held an interest in politics as it runs in his blood.
“I’ve always thought about throwing my hat in the ring so to speak but I really believe that we needed to go from two parties to one. I sincerely did and when Mr. [Jason] Kenney came through, I was invested in his plan and I think that the choice has to be in the nomination level. We got to quick making parties and I thought I could provide some choice and I think I have.”
Horner hopes to be a prominent person who is approachable for constituents to talk to and to represent them well in Edmonton.
“To try to be a representative that’s really in touch with this riding and I think that there’s so much polarization in politics today,” said Horner. “I want to focus on the riding first and deal with the rest of it as it comes but I would like to be a real in-touch representative. I’m excited. I have extremely high expectations of this party and I hope I am a net contributor to it.”
While all good things come to an end, Rick Strankman will be exiting from his MLA status in 2019 after six politically charged years in the provincial legislature.
Incumbent MLA Strankman sees this loss in nomination as a new beginning.
“It’s the start of a new adventure I think for me because we are in the forming of a UCP and it’s going to be an interesting time. There has been some unsettling news from across the province from other candidate positions and the economy still hasn’t improved. We are still in a debt. We are going to be approaching three numbers – $100 billion worth of staggering debt – so I am looking forward to a revitalized conservative movement.
Hopefully, like I’ve told you before, I had the envisioning of that under the Danielle Smith leadership and now I have that belief under the Jason Kenney leadership so I am happy to go forward here.”
“I’ve made a lot of change, been involved in changes from an unelected position so this is going to give me lots of freedom that I didn’t have before and I was hoping for responsibility possibly in the Kenney led government but it’s not to be. The people haven’t said that so we need to readjust the jib on the sailboat and see where the wind is coming from,” said Strankman.
The current MLA also added that he is still the current MLA who can be contacted about pressing issues at this time.
“There is a lot of people that didn’t really understand the nomination process going forward and how that would all work with the formation of the new party so even though Mr. Horner is the UCP representative going forward, I am still the MLA so it is a bit of an anomaly, a bit of a technicality but I have a role to fill, a responsibility to the constituents and I want to effect that until the end of my term,” Strankman said.
“I never felt any real wounds in this race personally, there is others that may be more vocal on their Facebook and such like that but I didn’t take it that way because I know it’s a strong conservative riding. The MP, Mr. Sorenson, is overwhelmingly successful in his conservative position and I hope that we can bring that forward here. It’s a strong, diverse riding and I’m pleased at the formation of the riding even though it is expansive,” Strankman concluded.
Drumheller-Stettler UCP President David Mohl added that out of the 2,800 eligible voters, a staggering 1,709 exercised their democratic right from Thurs. Sept. 27 up until Sat. Sept. 29, saying it is a high percentage for a party nomination election.
United Conservative Leader Jason Kenney issued a statement following the nomination congratulating Horner on his victory.
“I would like to congratulate Nate Horner on his hard-fought nomination win. Nate has a diverse background, with experience in agriculture, oil and gas, and as a small business owner. This, combined with a deep desire to create a better Alberta for his two small children, makes Nate an ideal United Conservative candidate and I’m pleased to welcome him to the team,” said Kenney.
Kenney also acknowledged Strankman for his time served as the area’s MLA as well as his activism after being jailed for attempting to send wheat across the US-Canada border in protest of the monopoly formed by the Canadian Wheat Board.
“I would also like to thank Rick Strankman for his immense contributions to the conservative movement, from going to jail to protest the unjustness of the Canadian Wheat Board to getting elected to the Alberta Legislature in 2012. I am looking forward to working with Rick in the Legislature in the coming months and whatever else the future holds. I know I join all Albertans in thanking Rick for his service to our province.”
Earlier last week, one day before the voting process would take place, Todd Pawsey was disqualified from the running after the nomination committee deemed him unfit as inappropriate facebook postings resurfaced.
Read the article titled “Todd Paswey disqualified from UCP candidacy, day before election,” in this week’s edition of the ECA Review.
The Alberta Party nominee, Mark Nikota, will be facing off against Horner when election time approaches as both vie for the position of MLA.