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Jason Heistad steps down as active Innisfail council member to challenge Devin Dreeshen

Three-term Innisfail councillor is running in expected spring provincial election to become NDP MLA for Innisfail-Sylvan Lake riding
Longstanding Innisfail town councillor Jason Heistad is taking on incumbent UCP MLA Devin Dreeshen in the expected spring provincial election. Heistad said that as of Feb. 6 and until at least the conclusion of the election campaign he will no longer be an active member on Innisfail town council. Town of Innisfail photo

INNISFAIL - Jason Heistad is jumping into provincial politics.

The 51-year-old Innisfailian, a town councillor in his fourth term, announced today (Jan. 23) at town council that he is stepping down as an active town councillor to begin his campaign to unseat UCP incumbent Devin Dreeshen as the MLA for the Innisfail–Sylvan Lake riding and become its first elected provincial NDP representative.

Linda Sinkwich, president of the Innisfail-Sylvan Lake NDP Constituency Association, said Heistad’s record of community and political involvement, his commitment to social issues, his work ethic and integrity make him the “perfect choice” to be the riding’s MLA.

The news release on Heistad’s provincial election plans stated the Innisfail-Sylvan Lake NDP Constituency Association will host a meeting on Feb. 6 at the Innisfail Library/Learning Centre to formalize Heistad’s nomination as the NDP candidate for the riding of Innisfail-Sylvan Lake.

“I look forward to talking with as many residents of our constituency as possible about issues in our area of Central Alberta. It would be an honour to represent our riding in the Alberta legislature to work at improving the lives of Albertans,” said Heistad in the news release.  “In our area that means things like the much-needed expansion to the Red Deer Regional Hospital, fixing ambulance response times, and improving access to health care by attracting more physicians to family clinics.

“The two biggest industries in our riding are agriculture and energy, and I want to see those workers do well,” he added.  “Small businesses need some love, and families need help to make ends meet in these tough times.”

Heistad, who led all councillor candidates in the 2021 general municipal election, claimed his fourth term after leaving municipal politics for eight years to take on the role of secretary-treasurer for the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees.

He has also been heavily active in the community by serving on the Innisfail Welcoming & Inclusive Community Committee; notably his strong support and advocacy for last year’s public art projects.

Heistad later told the Albertan that beginning on Feb. 6 and until at least the conclusion of the provincial election period he will not be an active member on Innisfail town council.

“I could not see myself in good conscience as an elected official taking a paycheck from the (Innisfail) taxpayer,” said Heistad. “At the end of the day I want to make sure citizens know how serious I am taking on this opportunity.

“I believe in my leadership role it was the right thing to do,” he added. “I don't believe the taxpayer should be paying me if I'm running for another elected position.”

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