Ken Hughes launches PC leadership bid

Politics: Premier hopeful goes back to his roots

By: Don Patterson

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Apr 16, 2014 06:00 am

Former municipal affairs minister Ken Hughes announces he is running for the Alberta Progressive Conservative leadership on April 11 at East Longview Hall.
Former municipal affairs minister Ken Hughes announces he is running for the Alberta Progressive Conservative leadership on April 11 at East Longview Hall.
Jordan Verlage/OWW

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An Alberta Progressive Conservative Party leadership hopeful went back to his roots to launch his campaign to become the province’s next premier.

Ken Hughes officially kicked off his campaign to become the party’s leader in Longview on April 12. He said it was important for him to launch his campaign in Longview, with many family friends and acquaintances present.

“As I launch my campaign today, you have my word that you will be able to in vest trust in the financial decisions made by your government,” he said. “Our Province deserves a great future and the Hughes team will dedicate its efforts to delivering on that promise.”

Hughes is the first candidate to officially launch their leadership campaign after former Premier Alison Redford resigned last month. A number of other names have swirled as potential leadership candidates and a growing movement is trying to get former MP Jim Prentice to seek the leadership.

Hughes’ family owned a ranch near Longview and he grew up in the area. The Harvard graduate served as the Macleod MP from 1988 to 1993, he founded an insurance brokerage and was the first chairman of Alberta Health Services. Since becoming MLA for Calgary-West in 2012, Hughes has served on cabinet as minister of energy and most recently in the municipal affairs portfolio.

Hughes launched his campaign as the party is trying to recover from infighting that lead up to the premier’s resignation, and suggestions of a culture of entitlement within the PC Party.

He said the Party has come off track, but it won’t take much to get it going back in the right direction.

He said his roots in the foothills will ensure any sense of entitlement within the party won’t last long under his leadership.

“When you come from Longview, you’re entitled to a good pair of cowboy boots and a sense of humor and the ambition to work hard,” he said. “And, that’s all I’ve ever done.”

Hughes said he will rebuild the trust Albertans have with the PC Party and he would bring a different approach to government.

He said he will deliver common sense leadership that Albertans can relate to and reflects Alberta’s values.

“It’s long past time that we deliver this type of no-nonsense leadership that Albertans have a right to expect, that is what Ken Hughes stands for and that is exactly what you will get from me,” said Hughes.

He said he will ensure the government makes the best use of taxpayers’ dollars and Albertans can expect him to exercise fiscal restraint.

“Albertans have the right to expect solid services, delivered efficiently and based on no-nonsense, prudent spending priorities,” he said.

He said the party needs to demonstrate it will focus on priorities for the future. While saying it’s important to invest for the future, he added every dollar must count and he will not run up inappropriate debt or waste tax dollars frivolously.

“The Ken Hughes team will not be afraid to invest in Alberta’s future, but it will also be rightfully fearful of ever having to stand in front of Albertans to explain misdirected or wasteful spending,” he said.

He resigned from his position as Municipal Affairs Minsiter, but Hughes said he continues to work closely with the department as a volunteer to ensure progress on flood recovery efforts doesn’t slow.

Ultimately, Hughes said he can help get the PC Party and the province on the right track for the future.

“There’s a lot of talk about the PC Party losing its way these days,” he said. “I’m here to tell you that our job is not nearly done, that I am the right person to lead this party into a bright future for all Albertans.”


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