MaryAnn Mihychuk, a well-known New Democrat in Manitoba, is planning to run for federal politics under the Liberal banner in Winnipeg.

Mihychuk said Wednesday that she is hoping to win the Liberal nomination in Kildonan-St. Paul, a riding currently represented by Conservative Joy Smith.

A former MLA and cabinet minister in Gary Doer's NDP government, Mihychuk said the Liberals are the best political fit for her right now.

"The Liberals federally are very centralist, obviously. And working with the Doer government, we were also a fairly centralist government. The actual differences are quite small," she said.

Mihychuk served as an MLA for Winnipeg's St. James and Minto ridings from 1995 to 2004 and was minister of industry, trades and mines from 1999 to 2003.

In her last months in provincial office, she served as minister of intergovernmental affairs and trade and the minister responsible for international relations co-ordination.

She resigned in May 2004 to run for mayor in Winnipeg. She lost that race to current Mayor Sam Katz.

Mihychuk said since then, she has working in the private sector.

"I'm thinking that I bring a whole new set of new skills because I have been working in the exploration and mining industry across Canada," she said.

As for key issues, she said, "It's about the economy. It's still about the economy.

"Young people are having enormous challenges finding employment," she said. "Our available income is shrinking. Even though we are doing better than the U.S., that's a pretty poor marker."

Provided she wins the Liberal nomination, Mihychuk said she will start door-knocking at least a year before the next federal election.