Red Deer County Mayor Jim Wood last week announced his intention to seek the Progressive Conservative nomination for the Innisfail-Sylvan Lake riding.
A self-proclaimed lifelong PC supporter, Wood said he’s recently been approached by many people asking him to run.
“I believe that I can serve this region in probably a better capacity in Edmonton,” he said. “I feel very comfortable with Premier Prentice − I believe he’s really the kind of person that I feel is a great leader, and I would like to be part of his team.”
Wood, 57, was first elected to Red Deer County council in 2004, and is currently in his second term as mayor.
He said he feels “very blessed” to live in Central Alberta, and wants to ensure it, along the rest of the province, remains the “best place in the world to live.”
“I want to ensure for my grandchildren’s grandchildren that we continue to make sure that Alberta is the best and has an advantage. I’m proud to live here.”
Through recent community conversations, he’s heard of “a sense of betrayal” felt by some in response to recent floor crossings. But he assures that’s not why he’s running, and instead wants to see positive changes made throughout the province.
“We’re relying right now in our province through what happens with one commodity,” he said. “Oil prices come down, and it affects every single one of us in all of our communities and jobs, and we definitely need to see some change into the future.”
Further manufacturing of oil and agricultural products would help build the economy and keep jobs locally, he feels.
Education is another priority.
“The key to our future is education,” he said. “I think it’s so important that we have Red Deer College beside us. It is one of the finest colleges around, and we need to keep our kids at that college and nearby. The smartest minds − I’d like to keep them close by.”
Wood describes himself as a family man who takes “great pride in family and family values.” He’s been married 36 years, and has three children and eight grandchildren.
He’s also proud of everything he and his “great team” have accomplished during his tenure at the county. If elected as MLA, he’d feel confident leaving his role as mayor knowing the “great shape” the county is in.
“I wouldn’t move otherwise,” he said. “I love my job − it’s not even work when you go out in the morning. It’s fun.”
The Innisfail-Sylvan Lake PC nomination takes place Feb. 28. Wood joins current MLA Kerry Towle in seeking the nomination.