In a constituency long represented by a conservative MLA, Manitoba Liberal Party candidate Marc Brandson has put his name on the ballot in the spirit of democratic choice.
Brandson, 34, is a father of two from Tuxedo currently working at Assiniboine Park Zoo as the aquatic operations supervisor. He is running for MLA in Tuxedo with the MLP against longtime incumbent MLA Heather Stefanson who has represented the community for 19 years.
"I’m a vocal and present individual in the community and I believe that I’m a person that, moving forward, could offer a voice for the community and diverse interests as well," he said. "I want to represent all of our constituents… no matter who they are, a Liberal candidate is a diverse candidate."
Brandson grew up in a political home, with his father serving as a campaign manager for Eric Stefanson, a cabinet member of Gary Filmon’s PC government, and former city councillor Grant Nordman, and that tradition carries on today he said — being married to a human rights lawyer makes for interesting dinnertime conversation.
"We’re very passionate about progressive programs and systems and how we can help better Manitoba," he said.
With his finger on the pulse of local politics, and serving as a volunteer for the Manitoba Liberal Party, Brandson said he always entertained the idea of entering politics himself.
"I’ve been very active in the community, and my wife and I had been discussing the potential of moving into that over the last probably six years or so," he said.
"When I looked to register and express my democratic option to vote, there was a single candidate option. Only Heather Stefanson was listed as a potential option for voting. So I contacted the Liberal party and offered my services to move into that position."
Brandson said environmental action, small business development, and addressing the methamphetamine crisis hitting the city were three other motivators to run for public office.
"The consistent spillover of the meth crisis into our constituency area is a major concern of mine because community safety is really important," he said.
At the doors, Brandson said medical professionals are also expressing concern about changes to Manitoba’s health care system, and want more preventative care and seniors care options made available.
"There are health care aids, nurses, doctors and dentists and all the rest throughout the Tuxedo area, whether or not they are directly affected, they are affected by the workload that’s attached to those cuts," Brandson said.
Brandson said voters in Tuxedo don’t need to stick with the status quo this time around and suggests placing their vote with the candidate who best represents their values.
"And even though this neighbourhood has been a PC stronghold for some time now, these represent areas that have been willing to elect Liberals federally, and with the new boundaries of Tuxedo, that now includes residences from (MLP MLA) Jon Gerrard’s neighbourhood, there is just reason to provide adequate representation."
Also running in Tuxedo are PC candidate Heather Stefanson, Green Party of Manitoba candidate Kristin Lauhn-Jensen, NDP candidate Carla Compton, and Manitoba First candidate Abby Al-Sahi . The Manitoba First candidate did not respond to an interview request. The provincial election is Sept. 10.
Danielle Da Silva