Red Deerians opted to stay with the status quo in this week’s provincial election.
Both Cal Dallas, MLA for Red Deer South and Mary Anne Jablonski, MLA for Red Deer North, maintain their posts.
“I feel really good,” said Dallas as the results were coming in. “This has been a very pleasant experience. We had a 28-day campaign and we worked very hard. To see this come to a successful conclusion both for Red Deer South and to the party as a whole it is very rewarding,” he said.
Dallas received 6,355 votes, which at press time was still unofficial.
“I don’t know what responsibilities lay ahead but I know I won’t have that rather strange feeling as I’m driving up the legislature for the first time as I did in 2008. I didn’t really know what to expect. Now going back up to the legislature I think it will be a little different experience.”
As for the outcome provincially, Dallas said it’s the best result for Alberta.
“I knew that something had happened in the last three or four days – that there had been a real shift at the doors that we were knocking on,” said Dallas. “We were knocking on doors every day and there is a barometer that you get a sense of what matters and what people are talking about.
“In the last number of days I thought that constituents were starting to talk about the big important issues and we were starting to get past the small things that were keeping us from having good conversations.”
Moving ahead, Dallas said there is more work to be done.
“I think there is a number of things happening and certainly some new schools coming on board in Red Deer is welcome news, but we have more school challenges ahead of us.
“We’ve got challenges in terms of the aspirations we want to see at Red Deer College. We’ve got the cancer treatment centre coming on stream here soon and there are other opportunities around seniors’ housing and seniors’ care and I’m sure those are going to dominate the conversations in the coming months.”
Other candidates in Red Deer South included Nathan Stephan (Wildrose) who garnered 4,934 votes and Lorna Watkinson-Zimmer (NDP) who received 1,548 votes.
Alberta Liberal candidate Jason Chilibeck received 1,104 votes and Serge Gingras of the Alberta Liberals received 564 votes.
Meanwhile, Mary Anne Jablonski also held onto her seat for Red Deer North, although not by as much as she would have liked, she said.
Unofficial results showed her having 5,091 votes with Wildrose candidate Randy Weins pulling in 4,430 votes.
“It’s the fifth time I’ve been elected, and I feel like I’m on cloud nine,” she said. “This was a very difficult win, and I would compare it to my first win which was the by-election. We just squeaked by in the by-election and then we did that again now. I’m very happy to be able to win and be able to represent the people of Red Deer North once again.
“I would have been happier if the numbers had been a little bit better, but I’ll take it.”
Jablonski said the riding had strong candidates from the other parties, so that played into the final showing.
“I know there are things I have to pay attention to and those are the things that are important to the people,” she said.
“One thing I know I’m going to work on right away is the staffing at (Extendicare) Michener. That’s important to me because I want to know that our seniors are being looked after the way they should be looked after.”
Jablonski said she was very happy to move forward with the experience she has garnered over the past several years.
“One of the things I heard at the doors was “We’ve got to give Alison a chance and see what she can do.”
Meanwhile, Michael Dawe, Alberta Liberal candidate for Red Deer North received 2,330 votes and Derrek Seelinger, candidate for the NDP received 970 votes followed by Alberta Party candidate Brent Chalmers who ended up with 248 votes.
-with files from Mark Weber