Abigail Douglass is a recent graduate of King’s University in Edmonton, and one of the youngest candidates for MLA in Alberta.
On May 25 the Alberta Party officially announced Douglass as its candidate in the upcoming Innisfail-Sylvan Lake by-election in front of the lighthouse in Sylvan Lake.
Douglass says she has strong ties to the area after moving to the family farm near Penhold after being adopted by Canadian missionaries Casey and Dorothy Douglass.
Usually she says she did not grow up with the intention of running for politics, but in hindsight she has been an advocate for others for a long time.
“I remember debating my principal about having our first school dance and I never really realized that was advocating on behalf of people but it became something that I got so passionate about,” Douglass said, adding she went on to hold several positions on the student association while attending university.
While Douglass is young, she says that isn’t a detriment to her campaign, isn’t she calls it an exciting challenge.
“I am a young candidate running for MLA in the youngest district in a young province, and that is exciting,” the 23-year-old executive assistant said.
Since her candidacy was announced, Douglass says many younger voters have contacted her to find out more about politics and the upcoming byelection.
Douglass says she wants to bring young people into politics and help them have their voice heard, especially with statistics showing younger generations don’t vote in the same numbers as older generations.
“I think it’s because they are scared and unsure about the issues. There is a lot of research to put into something like this, I want to help them understand the issues,” Douglass said.
Stephen Mandel, leader of the Alberta Party, said Douglass is the “ideal candidate” for MLA and member of the Alberta Party.
“Abigail is an ideal candidate for the Alberta Party: hard-working, great with people and passionate about public service and building a stronger Alberta,” Mandel said in a press release.
Her personable nature is something she hopes will help with the upcoming election, as she hopes to meet with the constituents and talk about the issues in a comfortable setting, like a coffee shop.
“Sometimes you talk out your frustrations and I think that’s sometimes what some people need,” Douglass said, adding “…That’s really my goal, that people see me as someone approachable that they can talk to about whatever issues.”
According to Douglass, the Innisfail-Sylvan Lake riding has three key issues she would like to address during the campaign and as MLA if elected: rural crime, economic diversification but also citizen engagement.
“We need real action, fresh leadership and big ideas to ensure our province’s best days our ahead of us, not behind us,” she said.
The byelection could be called at any moment now, and must be called before Aug. 5. The need for a byelection is a result of former MLA Don MacIntyre resigning from the position in February.