Coun. Len Isleifson, addressing a press conference on Thursday, says he wants to represent the Tories provincially because “we need to have a responsible fiscal government.” (COLIN CORNEAU/BRANDON SUN)
After one term, Coun. Len Isleifson (Riverview) has an eye on a Manitoba legislature seat and won’t be seeking re-election in his ward.
Isleifson made the announcement he is seeking the Progressive Conservative nomination in Brandon East yesterday at city hall, putting to rest rumours that he’ll run for mayor.
"We need to have a responsible fiscal government, we need to put money back into the hands of the people of our great city and this province," he told reporters from behind a black podium on the Ninth Street sidewalk.
When the PC nomination will be held is still up in the air and a provincial election isn’t expected until 2016, giving Isleifson plenty of time to organize himself while the city goes through a municipal election in October and a federal election in 2015.
"All my efforts will be looking forward on the nomination process to represent the PC association of Brandon East and working hard to form the next government for this province," he said.
Isleifson, now a cleared and vetted PC nominee, made a run for the federal Conservative nomination ahead of November’s byelection but decided to bow out shortly before the application deadline.
He said that was about the time he decided he was going to make a run provincially but said it’s something he has been looking at for some 15 years.
"It shows my dedication and achieving what I want to achieve," he said. "It’s a matter of finding how I can help out the most in our community ... this my home, I want to make sure it’s looked after."
NDP MLA for Brandon East Drew Caldwell said the announcement is one of "the worst-kept secrets in Brandon."
"People have been expecting him to make an announcement like this since he sought to abandon Riverview ward last year to replace Merv Tweed."
Meanwhile, Isleifson said he will take "great interest" in the upcoming municipal election — particularly in his soon-to-be former ward of Riverview where left-leaning candidate Vanessa Hamilton is currently running unopposed. However, he said he won’t be involved in any way.
Hamilton announced her intention to run in Riverview last month and said Isleifson’s exit doesn’t necessarily make things easier for her.
"I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing, connecting with residents, hearing their concerns, so I don’t think it would be different either way," she said.
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Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition May 23, 2014