Edmonton-Calder MLA David Eggen has confirmed he will seek the leadership of the province's New Democratic Party.
Eggen is the first candidate to come forward since party leader Brian Mason announced his resignation on April 29. At the time of his resignation, Mason, 60, said the party needed new blood.
"I will pick up where he left off, quite frankly," Eggen told CBC News, crediting Mason for professionalizing the Alberta NDPs and garnishing respect for the party both inside and outside the provincial legislature.
Eggen was elected on April 23, 2012 and also represented Edmonton-Calder from 2004 to 2008. Before entering politics, he was a teacher.
He told CBC News he is driven by the issues that took him out of teaching and into politics in the first place.
"[I want] to not just protect the public interest in regards to health care, education and control of our natural resources, but to try to push that agenda along as well."
Education and health care were two areas Eggen said he would focus on as leader.
"The economy is expanding here tremendously, the population is growing and yet the things the government are responsible for — public interest such as education and health care — are not growing to meet the needs of the economy and population," he said.
The party is currently working out the details of the nomination process.