Central Peace-Notley independent MLA Todd Loewen has officially begun his campaign to become the leader of the United Conservative Party.
Loewen says his first priority is to take as much feedback as possible from residents across the province.
“I think it’s time we get back in touch with the average Albertan and start listening more to what Albertans want. I think that they have wanted to see a lot more action on certain things. That’s something that I think has been missing the last few years.”
Loewen joins Travis Toews, Danielle Smith, Brian Jean, Bill Rock, and Leela Aheer as candidates for the open position.
“It looks like there are some really good people that have put their names forward to run and I think that’s great. There will be more coming and that’s great as well,” says Loewen. “I think we need to have a wide diversity of people running so that we can have a good discussion on different views and what different visions people have going forward.”
Loewen feels that it’s imperative that the Conservatives gain back the trust of the people going forward.
“We need to earn it back and it won’t be easy. That’s going to be a big job but with this ongoing race, one of the first things we can do is choose a new leader and find a new direction,” he says.
When asked about his biggest specific concerns, Loewen mentioned that he believes people are frustrated with how the Jason Kenney government has dealt with Ottawa and also health care.
“People would like to see a lot more action and less talk on that front. Health and Alberta Health Services is an area that we can do better on,” he explains.
“We spend a lot of money on health care in Alberta and the services we get are not quite up to par. We have really good people working in the health care system, but they seem to be handicapped by the system itself.”
Loewen says that having the support of the Peace Region during his leadership run is vital.
“I think the Peace Region is looking to have a premier from this area and they have a shot at that now. They want to have that representation. The new leader will have to represent the whole province but I think the people in the Peace Country have a good opportunity to elect someone who aligns with their needs.”
Lowen adds that being ousted from the party in May of 2021 after criticizing Jason Kenney has not affected him too much.
“Not being in caucus hasn’t really held me back at all. I’ve maintained a good relationship with people in caucus and cabinet ministers.”
“It seems that MLA’s have been representing the government to the people they represent instead of taking the concerns of the people they represent to [the] government. I think we need to change that,” he adds.
Loewen delivered a speech in the Valleyview area on Tuesday to make things official.