THE BATTLEFORDS — Some people in the new constituency of Kindersley-Biggar feel it's time for a chance. That includes Kim Gartner, the CAO for the Town of Macklin and a current trustee for the Living Sky School Division, who has set his sights on the Sask. Party nomination.
He is one of two approved nominees, the other being long-time MLA for the area and current speaker of the Legislative Assembly, Randy Weekes, who after 24 years, may not receive the nomination at the Dec. 14 nomination meeting.
"I have had the distinct pleasure to learn from some of the most dedicated municipal elected officials from across the province. Every discussion, decision and project has been grounded in their desire to improve their community and to pursue a better quality of life for their residents," Gartner said in an email to the News-Optimist when asked why he decided to run.
He noted that his father was the reeve of their local RM when he was growing up, which pushed him to be involved in his community and municipal administration — and he has served as CAO for the Town of Macklin for over 30 years.
"We would sit together and watch election night coverage, both federal and provincial, and discuss the possibilities and ramifications the results would have on our province," he said.
"Our discussions would always lead to my wanting to pursue an elected position one day."
Gartner noted that he decided to seek the Sask. Party nomination after Ken Francis, the former MLA for the Constituency of Kindersley decided not to seek re-election and he wondered how his area of the constituency would be represented.
Gartner also told the News-Optimist that he thinks it's a chance for renewal.
"Mr. Weekes has been in provincial politics as an MLA for the past 24 years and had announced that he would be seeking the nomination very early in the process.
"I don’t question Randy’s desire to continue being an MLA or his desire to be an advocate for the area. However, with the formation of the new constituency boundaries, there is this opportunity to rejuvenate our representation," Gartner said.
"Having a contested nomination is not a judgment of past representation but rather an opportunity to build on past success with a renewed energy and a fresh set of eyes," Gartner said, noting that politicians are often accused of being tone-deaf to the concerns of the electorate.
"The exchange of ideas and concerns through effective communication is a duty of any politician, these difficult conversations help to formulate provincial policy and programs that affect the everyday lives of all Saskatchewan residents ... I believe it is a necessary challenge leading into the next provincial election."
And though Gartner noted that he'd already decided to not seek re-election to the LSKYSD, should he receive the nomination and be elected next year, it would signal the end of his tenure with the Town of Macklin.
"If I am successful in being nominated, I would feel absolutely humbled," he said.
"I have had some fantastic conversations from all areas of the constituency, I know that if I am bestowed that trust I can be an effective advocate for west-central Saskatchewan."