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AGM 2012 Candiates

2012 Alberta Party Board of Director Candidates

Current Board Members Standing for Re-election:

Michael McLaughlin

"I joined the Alberta Party in January 2011 because, like so many Albertans, I was starving for a change in government and a new way of governing and I firmly believed, and still do, that the Alberta Party is the only alternative to being a government for the people. The Alberta Party, in my mind, is still very relevant and will be for years to come. For the past year I have been on the Board as the CFO for the Alberta Party. I bring over 6 years experience to this position having been the Financial Administrator for the Alberta Liberal Party from 2005 until 2011".

Esme Comfort

I was born in Havana, Cuba the youngest of four children of a diplomat.  I  attended seven schools around the world, lived in/visited 18 countries and returned to Canada to attend Trinity College, U of T  where I graduated in 1976 Honours BA in French and English.

My husband swept me to Edmonton, in 1978 and I have been in Alberta ever since. We moved to the Bow Valley in 1980. our two sons were born in Canmore and attended K-12 (French Immersion) there. We ran a small retail business for 19 years. I support and volunteer for a variety of organizations and causes. I am Vice-Chair of the Canmore Folk Music Festival board, work full time at an events management firm and edit, copy-edit and proofread on contract. I hike, ski, bike, ride horseback (seldom), walk the dog and volunteer for, and otherwise support, a number of causes and organizations.

I’m now serving a third three-year term as an elected trustee (Vice-chair) of the Canadian Rockies District School Board. Related experience for Alberta Party Board includes: board member of the Canmore Daycare and the preschool, positions on all three Canmore school councils/PACs, and both the local chapter and provincial board of Canadian Parents for French (CPF); a campaign manager for a provincial candidate in 1993.

Will Munsey

I’ve served on the Board of Directors for two years. Last year I was the VP for Policy, which I found very challenging because I’m not an expert on any particular field. However, I learned that what is more important than knowing everything is finding the right people for specific areas. 

Like many Alberta Partiers, I was disappointed with our results after so much hard work and an almost meteoric rise until Alison Redford won the PC leadership race and moved her party to the center ground, where we were building support. That said, while some Alberta Party members are satisfied that Alberta found a better premier and avoided an even farther right government, I feel strongly that Alberta lacks a viable centrist option that would make democracy in Alberta workable. Other than the Alberta Party I don’t see that option on the horizon. I ask members for one more year on the board, which I will commit to with all my ability.

Ken McNeil:

As founding Board Chair of the Calgary Arts Academy Society, I helped create the Calgary Arts Academy. I serve on the Board of Directors and continue to delight in the success of our students and the school’s highly innovative approach to education. 

Through the political advocacy plan of the school, I met Dave Taylor, who, asked if I would join the Calgary Currie Independent Constituency Association. This was most curious as Dave did not belong to a Party and for that matter, neither did I! I essentially felt disenfranchised by the meaningless political choice between Tweedledum and Tweedledumber, (the reader can apply their personal judgment as to who was who).

It was at this time that I discovered the Alberta Party which then, and now represents to me a way out of the political absurdity that passes for government in this province. I grasped the larger hope and joined the Alberta Party in November 2010 (upon reflection, I am amazed by how much has happened in 2 years). When Dave became an Alberta party MLA, I became a “frequent guest” of the Calgary Currie Alberta Party Constituency Association. I then started the jocular nonsense of the “Other Club” as a fundraising initiative for the Currie CA. Other Club members donated in excess of $30,000 to the CA and well over $40,000 to the Party. I was elected to the Provincial Board at the last AGM and served as VP Fundraising. Needless to say, a great deal of work remains to be done! To me, the Alberta Party represents a beacon radiating light and hope which warms the shivering political heart. Whatever limited talents I possess, I am willing to actively commit to realizing the shared goals and aspirations of the members of the Party.

Tony Jeglum

I was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Board after the 2012 election. I was also the Alberta Party’s candidate in the constituency of Lacombe/Ponoka. I was proud to sit on the Alberta Party Agricultural Policy Committee and present the Agriculture Policy Directions at the 2011 AGM.

I farm east of Lacombe. I’m a passionate advocate and deeply believe the Alberta Party must carry on. An amazing thing was created in the two years prior to the 2012 election and there is no reason for us to cease that work. I’m committed to the work the Alberta Party needs to do in order to become a viable choice for Albertans in 2016.

Midge Lambert

In 2008 I made a commitment to myself that I would do whatever I could to get rid of the Stelmach government, and help get people back involved in the democratic process. In hindsight, the first part turned out to be pretty easy :). Getting people back and involved in the democratic process is certainly more difficult, and that won't happen until we have government that welcomes citizen participation openly and in every area, which is the original purpose of the Alberta Party.

I've been on the AP board for 3 1/2 years, and helped work through the initial joining of forces with Renew Alberta. I worked withEdwinEriickson on the Alberta Progress Party before that, and with the Alberta Greens for 3 years before that. We've all put in countless hours of time and energy and dollars and passion, but we are also - I think  -  committed to not letting our members and Albertans down. I will stay on for one more year, if I can help. I hope my experience will be useful.

I am excited to see there is still a lot of passion and belief in our party. I'm excited about what we have done so far, because the Alberta Party ideals of citizen engagement, community commitment and collaborative, open and transparent (in the real sense of the word) – government, still resonate with me. 

Al Wahlstrom

I began working in the Alberta Oil and Gas Industry after graduating from University in 1975. I worked in Canada until 1982 and then moved to international opportunities in Middle East, Europe, South East Asia and South Africa with periods of work in Canada until 2000. I’m currently working in the Canadian Oil and Gas Industry and believe I can offer the Alberta Party practical insights into dealing with this sector.

I am one of the original Director’s of the Independent Power Association of BC (1993 to 1997). I participated in the set up and development of an Association to assist in development of Sustainable and Environmentally responsible power generation in British Columbia. I have been a Director on the Board of  the Chartered School, Calgary Arts Academy since 2007. 

New Candidates for the Board

David Boroditsky

I am a husband, father and small business owner from Edmonton. I've been involved with the Alberta Party for almost 2 years and in the recent election I helped out in both the party's campaign efforts and as member of the Sue Huff campaign team. I'm also the vice president of the Edmonton-Glenora Constituency Association.  

I have a long history with computers, databases, and the internet, and have operated my current software company for over 16 years. For the past 18 months I've worked with others in the party to continue the development of our IT infrastructure, and look forward to working to build a team that can fully utilize the best that technology has to offer.

Greg Clark

I am proud to let my name stand for the Alberta Party Board of Directors. My experience as a candidate in the last election taught me that the Alberta Party has a big role to play in helping to shape Alberta politics, but I also learned that we have a long way to go to build a party that can one day contend for government. I believe the Board needs to lead our membership in a discussion about how we take the Alberta Party forward and actively engage Albertans in a discussion about what we want our province to be. 

My background is in management consulting and I am a part owner of a consulting firm in Calgary. I sit on the board of the Distress Centre Calgary and am on the Calgary Chamber of Commerce Tax and Economic Affairs policy committee. I am a born and raised Calgarian, have been married 10 years and have two fantastic daughters.

I believe the Alberta Party can be a party Albertans are proud to vote for. I look forward to working with you as we continue our journey. 

Jeff Funnell

I was the Alberta Party candidate for Edmonton Castle Downs in 2012. I am currently enrolled in various securities courses and am entering that business. My past successes have been in the deregulated power and gas markets, pharmacy wholesale, wireless communications and transportation. I serve as the president of my daughter’s school educational society and chair the casinos for that school. I have raised funds for the school and playschools in countless bingos, dinners, auctions, etc. and enjoy working with parents, teachers and students from all walks of life.

I joined the Alberta Party because I found a like-minded group of people; hard-working individuals who believe in giving back to the community and have come to expect better performance from government. Like many others I tried a party or two before I found a home here. I strongly support moving forward as a party and building on past experiences, wins and losses. I am proud of the party and our first election efforts and feel we can focus our efforts to be better prepared next time.

Brent Mielke

I’ve been a long-time community volunteer in Calgary, and have an extensive history of involvement with the Alberta Party. In 2009, I played an integral role in the development of Renew Alberta, and was President for a period of time, prior to its amalgamation with the Alberta Party. After a brief hiatus from volunteering in 2010, when I ran for Alderman of Ward 6 in Calgary, I’ve also been President of the Calgary West Constituency Association. I currently serve as President of my community association in Calgary, and have been involved in many area advocacy efforts. These include leadership roles in consultative efforts with the West LRT, South Campus Hospital, the new Ernest Manning High School, as well as many land use and planning proposals. I’ve been an advocate of numerous city-wide initiatives, while writing for the Better Calgary Campaign. 

For the past 7 years, I’ve lived in Calgary, along with my wife Elaine, while we raise three young children. Prior to arriving in Calgary, I worked in the meat import/export industry, and I’ve also lived in Montreal, London (Ontario) and Peterborough. I graduated from the University of Western Ontario in 1995, earning a Bachelor of Arts with a Political Science major.

The next several years will require a tremendous amount of patience and perseverance, from our Board and our Party. While the results of the last election weren’t what we had hoped for, to me they simply show that our work is not complete, and the evolution of the Alberta Party must continue. I will bring a commitment to building the profile of the Alberta Party to our future constituents, while ensuring that the foundation of our organization is strong, and sustainable for years to come.

Katherine Taylor 

My education and background is in Child Protection and Family Therapy. After 10 years in this profession, I decided to venture into the world of business and have been self - employed ever since.  As a self-employed person, I thrive on the challenges of developing a solid plan, efficient systems and accomplishing goals every single day. If I don't, I don't get paid.  I have an ingrained need to keep moving forward. If something isn’t happening, I am not comfortable.

The board that I would care to be on will be committed to the huge and complex job ahead, of establishing effective organizational and communications systems, clarifying directions and developing policy and procedure that best reflects the needs of Albertans, and our commitment to doing politics differently. We are the party that listens, but listening is a VERB, and requires activity. If we are not a consistently moving toward accomplishing goals as a living, breathing, progressing organization, we cannot possibly hope to motivate Albertans to see us as a real alternative in politics, or in fact, to see us at all. Rome was not built in a day, and the Alberta Party  will not be built in a hurry, but it will not be built at all without passion, commitment, very hard work, and establishing a consistent presence on the political scene in the province.

Court Ellingson

In truth I have just recently returned to Alberta after several years out of country and out of province. The Alberta Party played a part in motivating me to return when I did. Change is afoot in Alberta and I want to be part of that change. I have always been motivated to learn and explore but I have also been motivated to apply what I have learned to be an agent of change. In Calgary, I served on the board of directors for the Arusha Centre, an agency striving for economic, environmental and social justice in Calgary . My experience with the Calgary Dollars project at Arusha provided me with the opportunity to serve with CUSO in Indonesia. My time in Indonesia was diverse, from working directly with village based saving and lending groups to coordinating country programming in women's rights, community based forestry management and small business development.

My role has been one of facilitator. I am not the actor on the stage but rather the one who makes sure the set is right for the actors to do their work. I believe this is what a board member's role should be. This is also the role of the Party. A government should be setting the stage for the people to act out their lives in the best way possible. Policies and programs should be in place to allow access to all be that access to education or health or running a small business and employing others. On the verge of completing a Masters in Local Economic Development from the University of Waterloo, I am currently employed as a consultant in economic development. In Alberta I have worked with communities from High Level and MacKenzie in the north through the MD of Big Lakes, the City of Edmonton and the Capital Region to the SE Economic Alliance (Medicine Hat) and Vulcan County. I have personally consulted with hundreds of Albertans to discuss challenges and opportunities. Alberta does have challenges ahead but there is also tremendous opportunity for this province. I'd love the opportunity to be a member of the board and an agent for change in Alberta.

Jared Burton

I was born in Edmonton and raised in Leduc, Alberta where I still reside. I am attending the University of Alberta where I am working  towards a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Political Science. I am passionate about politics. This past election I proudly cast my very first democratic vote for the Alberta Party. This passion is evident in my involvement in Leduc Composite High School’s Student Vote 2012. Through this initiative, I encouraged my high school peers to vote and become aware of the need for electoral reform in Alberta. I have experience with both political organization and media representation through involvement with the Edmonton chapter of Fair Vote Alberta. In this capacity, I wrote letters to the Edmonton Journal that were published and appeared on CTV2’s Alberta Primetime for a round-table discussion on electoral reform, as well as appearing as a guest on CBC Radio’s Alberta at Noon. I also helped arrange and plan out Fair Vote Alberta’s very first public town hall meeting at the Stanley Milner Library Theatre in Edmonton.

I ardently believe in a progressive centrist political ideology, and that the Alberta Party can commit to a transparent and evidence-based policy and platform. The need for a party to stand up for what Albertans believe and take the correct course of action – without strict adherence to a side of the political spectrum – has become even more apparent in recent years. A truly pragmatically centrist Alberta Party will call for transparency and limitations in political financing; an open debate and discussion on electoral reform and the democratic deficit Alberta faces; and candid conversation on the future of resource royalties, among other things. Giving me the chance to serve on the Alberta Party Board of Directors will give the Alberta Party a young and impassioned voice to create an opposition party of common sense and the values of progressive moderate Albertans.

Connie Jensen

I am a life-long rural Albertan from the Rimbey/Buck Lake area. A retired educator in the public school system, I have a B.Ed majoring in secondary English, and an M.Ed. in school administration. I enjoy writing, gardening and making music, and have been fortunate to travel to several countries, usually in conjunction with my music. I have also been a farmer most of my life, and understand rural living and the issues that accompany it. I believe this to be an asset to the board of the Alberta Party. 

Regarding the Alberta Party, I was a member of and secretary to the Board for 3 years, until 2011 AGM, when I stepped back to rest and deal with a health issue. I am now rested and healthy, and continue to be hopeful and enthusiastic about the potential for the Alberta Party to continue to grow and make a difference in Alberta politics. Therefore, I ask for your support of my nomination to the Board. 

Chris Kuchmac

I am excited about the Alberta Party and its future. I was a candidate in Sherwood Park. I wasn't first, second or third but I didn't come in last either! I am a graduate of the University of Alberta, where I received my Philosophy degree as well as my Elementary Education degree. I am currently working for both the Edmonton Catholic and Elk Island Catholic School boards as a substitute teacher, although I have placed a number of applications around the province. I am a firm believer in the separate school system here in Alberta.

On a personal note I am Scout Leader and I have been with my group for over 16 years now. I am a gold panner, I have panned in various competitions on the panning circuit and even placed 5th in the Barkerville Open just this past August. I enjoy Eskimos football and our hockey teams as well. I would like to be on the board for our Party. I was the past President of our Constituency Association before stepping down to run in the election. I believe I can help contribute balanced ideas to the board and the Party as a whole.

Corwin Odland

Politics has always been a passion of mine and I have always wanted to get more involved. When I first heard about the Alberta Party, I was excited by the possibility of adding a new voice to provincial politics and was fascinated by the way this party did things so differently than the parties I had been involved with before. I started attending Big Listen sessions whenever I could, bought a party membership, voted for our first leader, and then helped as much as I could with the election campaign. It is time for a change in this province and I want to join the Board so that I can continue to help shape the Alberta Party into a viable alternative for Albertans.

I am a young communications (public relations) professional and I have spent most of my career working for municipal governments -- first in Edmonton and now in Calgary. I studied Communication and Political Science at Simon Fraser University and have used my political interest and professional skills to help with several election campaigns across all levels of government. Someday I hope to work full-time in the political sphere, either as a politician or an advisor to politicians. I believe that politics is one of the best ways to help improve people's lives and make our society better, so hope that I have the opportunity to use my professional skills for that purpose in the future.

Phil Hyde

I was born in Ontario in 1952 and came to Alberta in March 1970 and started my life adventure in Edgerton Alberta where I met my wife of 41 years. We have two adult daughters and two grandchildren. I had a 30-year career with Alberta Wheat Pool/Agricore which included fifteen years buying grain and 15 years in Community and Member Relations where I had the opportunity to build a Province-wide network. I have spent seven years as a Realtor and have recently returned to my agriculture background at the UFA Farm and Ranch Store in Red Deer.

I have been involved with politics and community development my entire adult life. I have been a Campaign Manager, Fundraiser and Candidate, once for the Red Deer North PC nomination. I have chaired numerous Committees over the years including Chair of the City of Red Deer Police Committee and Chair of the City’s Emergency Services among others. I became involved with the Alberta Party through my friend Danielle Klooster and am currently the President of the Alberta Party Red Deer South Constituency Association. I seek a position on the Alberta Party Board because I believe in my heart of hearts that Albertans need and want change in the way our Province is governed. I have developed many skills and contacts over the years that I believe will benefit our Alberta Party Board of Directors and Party.

Andi McDonald

I am a 5th generation Edmontonian and still remain here with my partner and young daughter. I have served on multiple Boards in the community including the Community Services Advisory Board for the city of Edmonton and the Family and Community Support Services Association of Alberta along with community league boards. I have spent the last 5 years working in the not for profit sector, ranging from Fund Development with CKUA Radio to my current position with a Human Resources professional association.

My political background is varied, having volunteered for the NDP provincially before joining the Alberta Party and having held memberships federally with the Liberal Party, the NDP, and the Green Party. I believe in responsible, open politics and have always voted with the future in mind. I came to the Alberta Party in 2011 because I felt that the mix of backgrounds and spectrums coming together under one central hat was just the progressive and forward thinking inoculation against the old guard Alberta could have. We live in an interesting time, not just in Alberta, but globally. It’s time to saddle up and help drive the change Alberta needs as we grow with our fellow provinces, the country, and the world.

Julia Necheff

I joined the party in May 2011 and proudly ran as the Alberta Party candidate in Edmonton-Whitemud during the 2012 election. I have remained actively involved in the party at the provincial and CA levels.

There is no question in my mind the province needs the Alberta Party as much now as before, so I believe it is well worth the time and energy to carry on the good work of all those who created the Party in its present-day form. With my eye firmly fixed on the next election, I ask the members to support my efforts to build thePparty by electing me to the provincial board. I promised voters during the election that I would conduct myself with integrity, and base decisions on the answer to a simple question: “Is this in the public interest?” I pledge to continue to be guided by this principle as I serve the Party.

I hold a bachelor of arts (BA Special) in political science from the University of Alberta, and an honours degree in journalism from Carleton University in Ottawa. I am currently the senior writer/editor for the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry at the University of Alberta. Prior to entering the communications field I worked for more than two decades as a journalist, reporting for the Winnipeg Free Press followed by 19 years at the Edmonton bureau of The Canadian Press.

Roger Tewson

I am a paramedic with 22 years of EMS experience. I have lived in Innisfail for nearly ten years and have worked for Guardian Ambulance LTD, for the last 13 years. I am a shift supervisor, and supplies manager at Guardian Ambulance LTD. I currently sit on the Alberta College of Paramedics governing board. We set the strategic direction and regulate the paramedic profession in Alberta. I have been on the board for 6 years, and am currently in the vice president's position. 

I would like to help the Alberta Party. I believe I would bring a strong strategic direction to the party and would also like to be in on a ground level of an exciting party. I would be able to help with strategic planning, bylaw writing, policy development, and implementing policy.

Brandon Beasley

I am a writer and web content services provider from Calgary. I have been involved with the Alberta Party since November of 2010, serving first as the Vice-President of the Calgary-Shaw Constituency Association and then as Calgary-Shaw’s candidate in the 2012 election. I am a dedicated Alberta Party volunteer and activist who is passionate about ensuring that Alberta has a vibrant, attractive, serious, and forward-looking alternative to the PC party while remaining true to the core Alberta Party beliefs of political renewal, citizen empowerment, and grassroots participation.

In my campaign, I pledge to voters that if elected, I would:  listen well; be accountable, bold, pragmatic (no, “bold pragmatist” doesn’t have to be an oxymoron!), and constructive; and always work for those whom I represent. If elected an Alberta Party board member, I would endeavour always to live up to those commitments.

Randy Wolstenholm

I am currently President of the St Albert Constituency Association. I have worked many years as a logistics manager in the private sector and am now employed in the same capacity by the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission. It has been my experience that while the best results are often obtained through consensus, subject matter experts bring great value to an organization.

I believe that if you’re going to be involved in an idea/organization/movement, BE INVOLVED! I believe that there is an exciting future for the Alberta Party, but to realize its potential there must be enough like-minded people who are willing to share the hard work building the party.   This work consists of many things but the focus should be on the construction and building of detailed, costed policies that will give us a clear unique niche in the political spectrum and in the eyes of voters.


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