BARRHEAD – A lifelong Barrhead resident has announced his intention to represent the New Democratic Party (NDP) within the Athabasca-Barrhead-Westlock constituency during the upcoming provincial election.
Landen Tischer, who turns 32 years old this week, is thus far the only candidate running for the NDP nomination in the Athabasca-Barrhead-Westlock riding.
He and his wife Cheyenne, along with their daughter Spencer, recently attended the Barrhead Leader office to speak about his nomination.
Tischer has lived in the Barrhead area most of his life, except to go to college to receive his Bachelor of Arts in Theology.
For a time, he served as a pastor, but then went to work as an automotive lube technician in Barrhead and the Blue Heron Support Services Association, where he worked with clients who had complex needs. He now works as a horizontal directional driller.
“Now, I am officially throwing my hat into the ring of politics,” he said. “I will be a fresh, progressive voice for people who make their living in the country.”
When asked why he was seeking the NDP nomination, Tischer said their whole attitude is “youthful and exciting and optimistic,” adding that he trusts leader Rachel Notley to do what she says is going to do.
“And that’s probably the issue people have with her: when she says it’s going to do this, it’s pretty well going to happen,” he said.
Landen further elaborated on his views in a follow-up e-mail where he pointed out that more than 80 per cent of Alberta’s wealth is extracted from rural areas, “but it seems we are not getting a proportionate share of public services.”
He pointed to recent emergency centre closures in Barrhead and other communities as an example, noting that such closures never occurred under previous governments, including the Progressive Conservatives.
“There’s sometimes you can cut corners but it seems like the corner that’s being cut is rural Alberta,” he said.
Cheyenne also expressed a concern about the potential privatization of health care as being a distinct possibility under the United Conservative Party (UCP) government.
Landen said he wants to find ways to attract public service workers and have more doctors, nurses and paramedics move to rural communities.
On an employment-related note, he also pointed out that it can be difficult to find a job with a good wage in a rural area unless you’re a business-owner.
“I plan to be focused on education, job opportunities and improving healthcare for rural Alberta,” he said.
He suggested he also valued the NDP for allowing members with differing views and for keeping their policies consistent, noting that even if Notley were to retire, the party would not suddenly change direction.
For instance, he pointed out that the UCP once de-indexed the Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) and then announced in late November that it would be re-indexed as part of a move to combat inflation.
Another reason Landen said he believes people should support him is that he is young and has an interest in the area.
“I am enthusiastic about this opportunity and am looking forward to talking to … all my neighbours about building a better future for Athabasca-Barrhead-Westlock,” he said.
According to the NDP website, a nomination meeting to select the Athabasca-Barrhead-Westlock candidate will be held on Saturday, Feb. 25 at the Westlock Library from noon to 2 p.m.