Former Charlottetown councillor Rob Lantz announced Thursday morning that he is running for the leadership of the Progressive Conservative Party.

In a packed room at the Confederation Centre of the Arts, Lantz made a speech carrying the theme of a "new direction."

"The PC leadership convention is a time for renewal, to heal old wounds, not settle old scores. It is a time for unity," said Lantz.

He said P.E.I. is at a crossroads, adding, "Islanders are tired of politics of the past."

Education is a top priority for Lantz. Teachers and educators will help to create an education system of excellence, rathert than teaching for standardized tests, he said.

Lantz said the province's health care plan needs input from all front-line workers and those who provide services. In terms of addictions, mental health issues and poverty, he said, "Too many Islanders are falling through the cracks. We must do better."

Lantz's plan will focus on job growth, small business and investing in Islanders, then "get out of their way and pockets."

He said the job of rebuilding the province belongs to every Islander and government must be honest, respectful, accountable and live within its means.

"We need to change the way we spend money," said Lantz, and a promise of "no more cars and credit cards for the premier and cabinet ministers" received loud applause.

Lantz is the third individual to declare his candidacy for the leadership. On Wednesday, Darlene Compton announced her intentions, just two days after Stratford-Kinlock MLA James Aylward threw his hat in the ring.

The party will choose a new leader Feb. 28 at a convention at the University of Prince Edward Island field house.