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Frantz Benjamin to run for Liberals in 2018 Quebec election

Click to play video 'Frantz Benjamin running for office with provincial Liberals' Frantz Benjamin running for office with provincial Liberals
WATCH: Montreal city councillor Frantz Benjamin is making the jump to provincial politics. The first black speaker for Montreal’s City Council announced his intention to run with the Quebec Liberal Party Thursday. As Global's Tim Sargeant reports, he is the party’s candidate for the Northeast riding of Viau – Aug 2, 2018

Frantz Benjamin, who has been a Montreal city councillor for nine years, says he’s ready to move onto a bigger stage.

He announced Thursday he plans to run for the Quebec Liberals in the Montreal-area riding of Viau.

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Benjamin has represented Saint-Michel since 2009 and says he was approached by residents in his Saint-Michel riding to make the leap into provincial politics.

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The 50-year-old will be vying for the seat currently held by the outgoing immigration minister, David Heurtel.

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Benjamin said he thinks his experience as a councillor and, prior to that, as a school board commissioner, has prepared him well to run for higher office.

He says he wants to focus on education, a file he insists he wasn’t able to push forward at the local level.

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About 60,000 people live in the Viau riding and the district is ethnically diverse.

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If elected, the Haitian-born Montrealer will be one of the few Liberal MNAs who is a visible minority.

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Nevertheless, the councillor insists pushing for more equal representation isn’t a priority.

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Benjamin says he plans to remain a city councillor during the upcoming provincial election campaign, as permitted by law.

If elected on Oct. 1 to the National Assembly, he will then have to resign his council seat.

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