Former councillor Watkinson-Zimmer to run under Alberta NDP banner

A former city councillor and staunch defender of Red Deer’s downtown is among a nearly full slate of candidates chosen to represent the New Democratic Party in Alberta’s next provincial election.

A former city councillor and staunch defender of Red Deer’s downtown is among a nearly full slate of candidates chosen to represent the New Democratic Party in Alberta’s next provincial election.

Retailer Lorna Watkinson-Zimmer, who did not run last fall after serving for 15 years on city council, said on Tuesday that the NDP have been courting her candidacy for years but started pushing hard about five years ago.

She said she is now prepared to take that step and is fully prepared to accept her new duties if she is successful in her campaign for the Red Deer South seat.

She’s up against Progressive Conservative MLA Cal Dallas, recently appointed to Premier Alison Redford’s cabinet, as well as Alberta Party candidate Serge Gingras.

Watkinson-Zimmer said she has seen Redford’s Progressive Conservatives make some good moves since the leadership campaign, including the restoration of $107 million in education grants cut by the previous government.

However, there are still a number of issues outstanding that she would like to see resolved.

They include an guaranteed level of funding to health care, education and municipalities to give planners some assurances about the amount of money that will be available to them from year to year.

Watkinson-Zimmer also cited the late Jack Layton, former leader of the federal NDP, in seeking more collaboration between parties so that leadership is not sacrificed while members fight for votes.

Also running for the NDP in local ridings are Patricia Norman in Innisfail-Sylvan Lake, Derrek Seelinger in Red Deer North, Doug Hart in Lacombe-Ponoka and Aditya Rao in Drumheller-Stettler. The NDP has not yet named a candidate for Rocky Mountain House-Sundre.

Altogether, the NDP has named candidates in 78 of 83 provincial ridings. Of those 73, 51 have been confirmed while the balance are declared, but have yet to be confirmed by their respective riding associations.

bkossowan@bprda.wpengine.com

— copyright Red Deer Advocate

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