By Stan Ashbee
Sunny South News
Lorne Hickey, reeve of Lethbridge County, is no stranger to municipal politics. In fact, Hickey was elected to county council in 1998 and was elected reeve in 2005.
This year marks Hickey’s 17th year on county council and 10th year as reeve. But now, Hickey has aspirations once again to take his leadership to the next level provincially, as he seeks the Lethbridge East nomination for the Alberta Progressive Conservatives (PCs).
“Last time around I did run for the nomination but was unsuccessful, I lost by a few votes. I have been thinking for a long time it would be kind of nice to have somebody sitting inside of government who kind of understood municipal issues. I think that I have a ton of municipal experience to move along to that next venture,” said Hickey.
Hickey announced his intentions last Thursday morning in Lethbridge at the Nord-Bridge Seniors Centre.
Hickey believes government could be streamlined in the way it goes about doing things. For example, Hickey noted, the grant application process could be revamped.
Right now, the way to apply for a grant is a person has to apply to one governmental department but the application gets shuffled to three or four more governmental departments before a person gets a response on the status of the grant application.
“I wonder why the bureaucracy does that? When it could be just one department and you get an answer within a month, instead of five or six months,” said Hickey.
In the meantime, while Hickey awaits a decision on his nomination bid, he will continue his reeve-ship duties for the county.
“If I do happen to get elected, obviously I can’t do both things. I would have to step down from county council,” he added.
When asked why Hickey chose to run for the PCs, he said he’s always been a PC person at heart.
“I think Premier Jim Prentice seems to be on the right track to straightening up the solution. I think I’d like to be a part of that. There’s a lot of difficult issues that have come to council and certainly I’ve had the experience in dealing with those. I think it’s time that we get the province back on track and move forward,” said Hickey, adding he thinks it’s time to use his municipal leadership experience and take it to the next level.
According to Hickey, the deadline to file papers is Friday and voting is on Feb. 28. Currently, Bridget Pastoor is the Lethbridge East MLA but she announced she would not be seeking re-election.
During his official announcement ceremony, Hickey stated, he believes Prentice is very clear in his understanding of the issues. “I think it would be great to be a member of that team and move this province forward.”
Some of the issues, Hickey said, are healthcare, education, seniors benefits, and the youth.
“I’m also very concerned about the economy. As a municipal councillor, we certainly have had our ups and downs. I think it’s time to get this province back on track and I think Premier Prentice is the person to do it.”