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Taylor re-nominated by NDP

Len Taylor says he still has the enthusiasm to keep going with a two-decades-long political career that started in 1988.
Battlefords MLA Len Taylor was one of several NDP members in the room seen swearing an orange "Link" scarf at his nomination meeting at the Western Development Museum last week. Taylor is now officially in place to run again as the NDP candidate in the Battlefords, winning the nomination by acclamation. Seen here are NDP leader Dwain Lingenfelter, Cheryl Cook-Taylor and Len Taylor.

Len Taylor says he still has the enthusiasm to keep going with a two-decades-long political career that started in 1988.

"I've still got a lot of energy left," said Taylor, who was acclaimed Thursday night as the New Democratic Party candidate in the Battlefords, the provincial riding he has held since 2003. The nomination meeting took place at Western Development Museum with 75 people in attendance.

"I am humbled and honoured that the membership chose to nominate me by acclamation," said Taylor. "I do believe that that shows that, in the New Democratic Party, I have the confidence of the membership in this community."

Taylor added it also shows some of the respect for the work he has been able to do over the years.

The former provincial cabinet minister, who last year briefly held the job of Interim Leader of the Opposition while new leader Dwain Lingenfelter sought a seat in the legislature, began in politics as a Member of Parliament for Battlefords-Meadow Lake in 1988. Taylor has also served on city council before entering provincial politics.

It is expected the race in the Battlefords will again be a close one, with Herb Cox again running for the Saskatchewan Party and Liberal leader Ryan Bater expected to run as well.

Taylor, though, made it clear he is not afraid of a tough campaign. He noted that he has gone up against John Gormley and Ken Cheveldayoff in federal campaigns and defeated an incumbent Liberal, Jack Hillson, when he first ran provincially.

"When you look back at the campaigns I've run in, they've all been tough," said Taylor. "I'm no stranger to a good political fight. I'm no stranger to a close campaign with quality candidates."

In accepting the nomination Taylor gave a speech where he outlined some of his familiar themes.

He took the provincial government to task for increasing government revenues by 32 per cent over the last three years yet failing to find the funds to replace Saskatchewan Hospital or to address the need for affordable housing.

Taylor also took note of the recent finding that North Battleford was the number one crime city in Canada on the crime severity index. Yet the province is treating it as business as usual, he said.

"That's the definition, as you know, of insanity," Taylor told the audience, "doing the same thing over and over again hoping for a different result. We need to do things differently, we need an approach that is different."

On hand to support Taylor at the nomination meeting was Taylor's wife, Cheryl, whom he described as his "biggest supporter." High-profile New Democrats attending included several provincial NDP MLAs and the party leader, Dwain Lingenfelter, who was the guest speaker at the meeting.

Taylor and the NDP caucus members were in the Battlefords during the day for a number of meetings. They met with Mayor Ian Hamilton at City Hall, stopped at several businesses and met with chiefs representing the surrounding area's First Nations. He said the caucus also met with the school boards and with the Boys and Girls Club. The club was hard-hit by the flooding from the hailstorm that hit North Battleford in July.

Lingenfelter said he wanted to see Taylor returned to the legislature after the next provincial election, which is set for November 2011.

"We're really excited Len Taylor, one of our star MLAs has decided to run again," said Lingenfelter, who made it clear he sees Taylor serving in an NDP cabinet.

Lingenfelter said the NDP intends to win the next election and said Taylor would bring experience and "bench strength" to a caucus that Lingenfelter expects would have several new faces in it.

The party is about halfway through its nomination process and Lingenfelter expects most or all the NDP's candidates will be in place by year's end.