Alberta Votes

Alberta Election: Who are the province's new MLAs?

They were electricians, nurses and sociology students when Tuesday began. Now, they are also part of Alberta’s new government.

Nurses, union stewards and school board trustees among the newly-elected

Just some of the new NDP MLAs elected for the first time to the Alberta legislature. (Alberta NDP)

They were electricians, nurses and sociology students when Tuesday began. Now, they are Alberta's new government.

The NDP's historic win catapulted the party from four seats into a majority government. Because of that victory, dozens of rookie NDP MLAs are now destined for the legislature.

The group of new MLAs has its share of lawyers, small-business owners and union officials — just like every other party. But that doesn't tell the full story of who will now be running Alberta. Here's a look at some of the new rookie MLAs.

David Shepherd — Edmonton-Centre

Shepherd's resumé covers some wide territory. Formerly a musician and sound engineer, Sheppard has also worked in communications for the federal, provincial and Edmonton municipal governments. Now, he can add MLA to that list, after defeating popular Liberal candidate and Alberta's longest-serving opposition MLA, Laurie Blakeman, in Edmonton-Centre. Describing himself as an avid cyclist, he can likely ride his bike to his new Legislature office, seeing as it is located in his riding.

Deborah Drever — Calgary-Bow

Deborah Drever (Alberta NDP)
A Calgary-born sociology student at Mount Royal University, Drever won a tight three-way race, beating out her PC and Wildrose opponents to take Calgary-Bow. In her party bio, she highlights her work with human rights activists, as well as with the city's feminist and arts scenes. It's unusual to see a candidate making a campaign issue out of the fact that they live with a grandparent: Drever says she has a first-hand understanding of the economic problems facing both students and seniors in Alberta.

Danielle Larivee — Lesser Slave Lake

A registered nurse, Larivee is one of the rookie MLAs who helped the NDP break into Alberta's rural ridings, which was instrumental in securing the majority.  Larivee is far from the only medical worker among the NDP's candidates; several registered nurses were among the ranks of candidates, and doctor Bob Turner was able to bump off former health minister Stephen Mandel in Edmonton.

Sarah Hoffman — Edmonton-Glenora

Sarah Hoffman (Alberta NDP)
While she's never held provincial office, Sarah Hoffman is a well-known name in Edmonton political circles. In 2010, she grabbed 70 per cent of the vote in the city's public school board election, knocking off an incumbent trustee while promising to fight against school closures. In 2012, she was elected as the chair of the school board. Now, after defeating former PC culture minister Heather Klimchuk, she's the MLA for Edmonton-Glenora.

Brandy Payne — Calgary-Acadia

There have been a few barbs launched on social media over Brandy Payne's background as a yoga instructor. But the new MLA for Calgary-Acadia has also worked as a journalist, an education advocate in B.C., and has a stint in the oil-and-gas sector in her background. She was able to wrestle the riding away from incumbent Jonathan Denis, who resigned as Alberta's justice minister shortly before the election due to a legal dispute with his wife.

Shaye Anderson — Leduc-Beamont

Shayne Anderson (Alberta NDP)
Unsurprisingly, the new crop of NDP MLAs contains more union officials than one saw with the PCs in charge. Among them is Anderson, a worker for Telus and shop steward. Holding a diploma in physical education, the new MLA for Leduc-Beaumont says he is focused on improving the province's health-care system.

Nicole Goehring — Edmonton-Castle Downs

Going up against an incumbent is a daunting task, but even more so in Alberta when that incumbent is both a Progressive Conservative and the former deputy premier. Still, Geohring was part of the Orange Wave that swept through Edmonton, beating out Thomas Lukaszuk in Edmonton-Castle Downs. A social worker who has worked in both the Calgary and Edmonton education systems, Goehring is an active member of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees, the province's largest union.


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