Judy Klassen steps down from interim role to run for Manitoba Liberal leadership

The interim leader of the Manitoba Leaders, Judy Klassen, is stepping down to run for leadership of the provincial party.

Kewatinook MLA joins Dougald Lamont and MLA Cindy Lamoureux as Manitoba Liberal leadership candidates

Judy Klassen says she is stepping down as interim Liberal leader to run in the leadership race. (CBC)

Judy Klassen, the interim leader of Manitoba's Liberal party, is stepping down to run for leadership of the provincial party.

Klassen became interim leader in October 2016 after former Liberal leader Rana Bokhari stepped down.

The Kewatinook MLA became the party's first Indigenous female leader.

In a news release Tuesday, Klassen said she will be returning home to St. Theresa Point to spend time with family and friends before beginning her leadership campaign.

"I am here to let all Manitobans know that I will be campaigning for the issues of all Manitobans who seek a more progressive and vibrant vision of Manitoba," Klassen wrote.

"Indigenous issues are Manitoba issues, and the time has come for our province to have the goal of unity. I will work hard to carry that message to all Manitobans in preparation for the next provincial election."

Klassen joins two other official candidates for leadership of the Manitoba Liberal Party: Dougald Lamont and Cindy Lamoureux.

Lamoureux represents Burrows in the Manitoba Legislature, while Lamont has yet to hold public office.

MLA and former Liberal leader Jon Gerrard (River Heights) has hinted at a potential leadership run but has yet to enter the race.

When Klassen was named interim Liberal leader, Gerrard, who led the provincial party from 1998 to 2013, said he was excited for her and that she was ready to be leader.

Manitoba Liberals will elect their new leader Oct. 21 in Winnipeg.

with files from Sean Kavanagh and Austin Grabish