Another familiar face has entered the Alberta Party leadership race as former Edmonton mayor Stephen Mandel officially threw his hat in the ring on Wednesday.
Mandel, who also served briefly as Alberta’s health minister, made the announcement at Boyle Community Centre in Edmonton.
“Politics takes us on some remarkable journeys… I will seek the leadership of the Alberta Party,” he said.
Supporters in attendance, including children, carried signs with the slogans “Dream Big,” “Work Hard,” and “Together.”
WATCH: Stephen Mandel joined morning news anchor Erin Chalmers in studio to talk about his return to politics.
Much of Mandel’s speech focused on hope for the future in Alberta and the importance of diversity and equal representation in politics.
“We are all part of what makes Alberta great,” he said.
Mandel, who is 72, said he has the energy and the focus to run.
Watch below: Stephen Mandel has joined the Alberta Party leadership race. The former Edmonton mayor and Alberta health minister spoke with Gord Steinke on Wednesday.
Prior to the reveal, Mandel had been dropping cryptic hints on Twitter. After a 32-month hiatus from the social media platform, Mandel suddenly returned Monday, sharing several upside-down photos: one of a grain elevator, another of typical oil pumpjacks.
On Tuesday, the trend continued. He posted upside-down photos of the mountains, the Muttart Conservatory and a cow. All the photos included the caption “Jan. 10, 2018.”
“This was our way to say that Alberta is currently is upside-down,” he explained, “the same as Edmonton was when I first ran for mayor.”
Mandel explained that Alberta is in the same position as Edmonton was — full of potential but searching for the right way forward.
Just before 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Mandel’s new website mandelforAB.ca went live.
“I’m in awe,” Mandel said of the turnout. “For all of you to be here today is incredibly heartwarming.”
As of Wednesday, there were three other people running to be leader of the Alberta Party.
Former United Conservative Party member Rick Fraser joined the Alberta Party and announced his intention to run on Tuesday. The Calgary-South East MLA left the UCP caucus in September to sit as an Independent.
Calgary lawyer Kara Levis and Jacob Huffman are also seeking leadership of the party.
LISTEN: Stephen Mandel on his decision to run for the leadership of the Alberta Party
Mandel has kept out of the media’s spotlight since being defeated in the provincial riding of Edmonton-Whitemud by the NDP’s Bob Turner in the 2015 election.
In 2014, former Alberta premier Jim Prentice named Mandel health minister even though the Edmonton politician was not an MLA. He later got his seat in the Alberta legislature after winning a byelection.
Mandel served as mayor of Edmonton from 2004 to 2013 during which time city council embarked on a number of large-scale infrastructure projects and struck a deal with the Edmonton Oilers to build a new downtown arena now known as Rogers Place.
The Alberta Party currently has three MLAs: Fraser, Karen McPherson and Greg Clark.
Clark announced he was stepping down as leader in November. He said the decision was made “on what I believe is the best path forward for the party and most importantly, for the province.”
The vote for the new leader of the Alberta Party will take place on Feb. 27.
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