Pine Lake farmer and son of Red Deer-Mountain View Member of Parliament Earl Dreeshen, Devin Dreeshen has announced his intentions to run as a candidate for the upcoming election.
Dreeshen announced his intentions to become the candidate for the United Conservative Party in the upcoming Sylvan Lake-Innisfail by-election in a press release issued Feb. 13.
He says he is running as a potential UCP nominee because he “truly believes” in the party and it’s message.
It was a busy couple of days leading up to his announcement, Dreeshen says.
He said he had long term plans to run, one day, but wasn’t sure if it would be now.
“I had a lot of people coming up and asking if I was going to run,” said Dreeshen in a phone interview. “There was a lot of back and forth on it before I finally decided to do it yesterday.”
The hard part was the “bureaucratic process” of applying, according to Dreeshen. Before officially announcing his candidacy, Dreeshen put his name forward with Elections Alberta to show he was “serious about running.”
“I had a lot of plans for the next few months that I’ve put on hold for now. I want people to know I want this and I’m serious about running.”
It may not seem like it, but Dreeshen says he has 20 years of political experience. His experience up until this point has been “behind the scenes.”
He says he has done everything from knocking on doors and handing out flyers to advising candidates on platforms and ideas.
“It’ll be interesting, I think, to see a behind-the-scenes-guy go to become an MLA. We’ll see what happens,” said Dreeshen.
From 2008 to 2015 Dreeshen took his agricultural background to Ottawa and dipped his toe into politics acting as an advisor to Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz.
Dreeshen says he has secured the backing of some big political heavy hitters, including the Honourable Luke Ouellette and Ritz.
Born in Innisfail, Dreeshen says he has “deep roots” in the community he hopes to represent.
He went to school in both Elnora and Innisfail and still has a lot of family members in the riding area.
“This is definitely home for me,” Dreeshen said, adding a few years ago he bought his first quarter-section of land which he called “exciting.”
Dreeshen says he has a “long record” of community service. He is a director of the Western Canadian Wheat Growers Association, serves as a board member on the Crossroads Agricultural Society, and has been a recurring volunteer at the Pine Lake Country Fair.
Through his consulting business, Dreeshen also advises agricultural stakeholders on trade issues, with the NAFTA renegotiations a particular point of interest.
Dreeshen joins the race with Penhold councillor Mike Walsh, who announced his candidacy last week.
He says he is looking forward to travelling across the riding and speaking to the constituents.
“That is my favourite part of politics, engaging with people in the community, and meeting people who believe and are passionate in the issues,” said Dreeshen.
Currently there is no date for the UCP candidate election or the by-election for the riding.