September 30th, 2016

Historic day for NDP in Lethbridge-East


By Lethbridge Herald on May 6, 2015.

Maria FitzpatrickMaria Fitzpatrick

Lethbridge East
Maria Fitzpatrick, 8,913
Tammy Perlich, 4,745
Kent Prestage, 3,881
Bill West, 1,199

Tijana Martin
Lethbridge Herald
tmartin@lethbridgeherald.com
For the first time in history, Lethbridge East has elected an NDP MLA. Newcomer Maria Fitzpatrick won with 8,913 votes. It was a dramatic change of events in comparison to 2012 when NDP candidate Tom Moffat came in fourth with only 2,007 votes.
“I think Albertans were certainly ready for the change, but they were ready for change that was going to support the people,” said Fitzpatrick, who was celebrating Tuesday evening with her supporters at her campaign office in the Bill Kergan Centre.
Lethbridge East has been a predominately PC riding, although Liberal Ken Nicol was elected in 1993 and then Bridget Pastoor in 2004 before she crossed the floor to the PCs in 2012.
“We all have felt so strongly that we need a new government, there needs to be a change. We’ve given the Progressive Conservatives their walking papers. They’re done,” said NDP supporter Patti Johnsen.
Fitzpatrick said she was over the moon with excitement.
“I am so excited for Lethbridge East because I think our voice is going to be heard and we have a lot to say. I’m thrilled, just thrilled.”
Fitzpatrick said she’s anxious to start her role as MLA and that over the past week, she’s been waking up with a plan on how she would report back to the constituency.
“I’m not sure why it was happening, but I’d wake up in the morning and I’m thinking about how I can share with the constituency here what we did in the (legislature) and how it’s going to affect them and how we move things forward,” she added.
She praised all her volunteers for their hard work on the campaign and for believing in what their party stands for.
Fitzpatrick said she wasn’t shocked to hear the results, “because I could see that change was needed for a long time and I reached a point that I was fed up with what was going on, which is why I stepped forward as a candidate.”
While this was her first time running in the riding, she was confident in her skills.
“I’ve got lots of life experience so I can resonate with what they’re feeling and I think that makes a difference when people feel that they’re heard.”
“I think the NDP values . . . are Albertans’ values. Albertans care about their neighbours, they care about their community and I think that’s what our platform speaks to. Certainly going door-to-door that’s what I was hearing over and over and over again,” she added.
She said she’s excited to see the province move forward with an NDP majority government, although she admits there’s a lot of work to be done.
“We have a lot of work to do to fix our health care, we have lots of work to do in terms of education, long term care for our seniors and job creation. We need to get the province back in a position where we are the province to live in and I think we can do that.”
Not only was history made in Lethbridge East on Tuesday, it was an historic day for all of Alberta as they elected an NDP majority government. Fitzpatrick said Albertans will soon see that “we’re moving forward and they’ll see that we’re true to our word.”

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