Rachel Notley announced her entry into the NDP leadership race in Calgary today.

The Edmonton-Strathcona MLA says Alberta needs a modern and progressive government, and she believes the NDP can provide a viable option in the next provincial election.

"Alberta is changing. It is modern, diverse and forward-thinking," said Notley. "We are on the verge of taking our place in the world and capitalizing on our potential, but as Alberta and its people change, our politics lag behind."

"I am ready to lead that change."

The leadership race comes after Brian Mason announced he would be resigning this fall.

He said the party needs new blood and he will step down by Oct. 19 to allow time for a leadership race prior to the next provincial election.

Political change needed, says Notley

Notley said Albertans voted for political change in 2012. She said there was hope that Alison Redford, the PC party's new leader at the time, would keep promises to improve public services and social policy.

"We can't let the Conservatives get away with that charade again," said Notley. "We are ready to reach out to Albertans who are tired of Conservative broken promises, and scared of Wildrose extremism.

"A new Conservative leader isn't change. A Wildrose government with the same tired ideas we've heard for the last 40 years, isn't change."

Notley said she chose Calgary for her campaign launch intentionally.

"Calgary is Alberta's biggest city and it demands our attention. As leader, building support in Calgary will be one of my biggest priorities," said Notley.

She will also be holding a media availability this afternoon in Edmonton.