Lacombe city councillor Thalia Hibbs has thrown her name into the Lacombe-Ponoka UCP nomination run. She made the announcement July 25. Photo submitted

Lacombe councillor Thalia Hibbs adds her name to UCP nomination

Hibbs will challenge MLA Ron Orr and Rita Reich for the Lacombe-Ponoka UCP nomination

And then there were three.

Lacombe city Coun. Thalia Hibbs has entered her name for the Lacombe-Ponoka United Conservative Party (UCP) nomination.

She will be running against MLA Ron Orr and Ponoka County resident Rita Reich for the Blackfalds, Lacombe and Ponoka area, which also includes Mirror and Crestomere.

Hibbs made the announcement Wednesday afternoon and she brings with her experience as a City of Lacombe councillor as well as being the former St. Thomas Aquinas Roman (STAR) Catholic trustee chairperson for some years.

The addition of Hibbs will add a new element to the UCP nomination race as she was a popular candidate in the 2017 Lacombe municipal election; Hibbs received the most votes at 2,457.

On deciding to run for the nomination, Hibbs says she’s excited to be part of the UCP. “It just made me recognize that I can bring a new energy and my past experience to serve the people of Lacombe and Ponoka.”

She will centre her candidacy on small government with a focus on grassroots issues management. When asked about rural crime issues, Hibbs says it’s an area needing focus.

“Statistics are showing that it (crime) is increasing. And of course we know that many crimes are never even reported,” said Hibbs. “That is quite a crisis that they’re facing out there.”

She suggests the roots of rural crime are complicated but feels bringing more Mounties to rural detachments is part of the solution. But also expanding the role of other law enforcement personnel such as peace officers can help.

“And making sure that there’s increased monitoring of repeat offenders,” said Hibbs, adding that the majority of crimes are from a small percentage of people.

She added that low taxes and bringing the province back to balanced budgets are an important part of the equation in her run for the nomination.

An interesting note related to budgets is that Hibbs recently voted in favour to keep the BOLT Transit bus system. That vote, said Hibbs, is a short term approval based on bringing efficiency to the BOLT line before axing it altogether.

“If it isn’t (efficient) after the period of time that we’ve allotted then I will certainly vote in favour for it to go away,” she explained.

“I don’t think it’s out of line for a municipality to be offering that service but there should be the expectation that it’s running efficiently,” said Hibbs.

Her hope if voted as MLA would be to hear directly from voters on important issues. “To me that public involvement is so key to doing anything successfully.”

When asked about her work as a STAR Catholic trustee and if she feels her religious beliefs would interfere with being an MLA, Hibbs suggests that is what makes her a strong candidate.

“I believe that lends a lot to my integrity, which I think is important for a politician,” said Hibbs.

Asked about the impact of the carbon levy, Hibbs feels it’s been overwhelmingly negative. “I think it hurts industry. I think it hurts every day Albertans and it definitely should be repealed because it’s just a sales tax under a different name.”

“The focus should be more on creating fair and effective regulations that support innovation in the industry,” she added. “I think that would be better for the environment.”

As for her run for the nomination. “I enjoy finding that balance when problem solving…I’m strongly committed to grassroots.”

Hibbs feels her position as city councillor will not interfere with the nomination race, but if it does, she would seek a temporary leave of absence.

Elections Alberta has approved her registration but the website has not been updated yet.

No date has been specified for when a UCP candidate will be chosen.

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