One of the longest serving members of the Alberta Tory caucus is facing competition from the president of his own riding association.
Rocky Mountain House oilfield contractor Jimmy Clark told the Advocate via email on Thursday that he will seek the Progressive Conservative nomination in the riding held by Ty Lund, who plans to run again in the next provincial election.
Clark, 56, said he believes the constituency, which will see its name and boundary changed when the next election is called, needs “a fresh perspective and an active voice.”
Clark contends he has the experience to offer “new vision and vitality.”
Born in Germany while his parents were stationed there with NATO, Clark has lived across Canada and pursued a career in physical education.
He came to Rocky to become principal of Will Sinclair High School in 1997, a post which he left in 2010 to form his own business, Redtail Contracting.
“I have a history of being a change agent and creative thinker that has championed successful innovation in both the private and public sectors,” said Clark.
“Alberta is where my three children were born and raised and my family and I have benefited greatly from what our province has offered,” he said.
Reached at his constituency office on Thursday afternoon, Lund said he was aware that Clark will challenge him for the nomination in what will become the Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre riding once the writ has been dropped.
The change pulls Rimbey into the northeast corner of the riding, which also takes in the southwest section, including Benalto, of Innisfail-Sylvan Lake.
Lund, 73, reserved comment on Clark’s decision to challenge him for the nomination.
“It’s a democratic process, so that’s the way it is,” said Lund, who was first elected to the legislature in 1989 after three terms with the Municipal District of Clearwater, including four years as its reeve.
The only MLA who has served longer is Ken Kowalski, who has represented Barrhead since 1979. Kowalski has announced he will not seek re-election.
Lund said that he still has a number of goals he would like to accomplish before wrapping up his career in provincial politics.
“I believe the province is at a crossroads and we’ve got to get it right. By that, there’s a whole number of things that I want to see happen.”
Keeping taxes as low as possible is among them. Lund has also been appointed to chair a new committee that will look at cutting through the layers of red tape involved in starting or expanding a business.
He said Alberta is well poised to provide energy, building materials and food as the world population moves toward nine billion and he would like to be a part of that process.
Nominations for the Progressive Conservative candidate for Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre open on Jan. 4, with the vote to be held on Jan. 21.