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Former mayor Faulkner runs for Wildrose

Former Wood Buffalo mayor Doug Faulkner is running for the Wildrose nomination in Fort McMurray-Conklin.

The two-term mayor and two-term councillor filed his nomination papers on Wednesday.

Faulkner has run federally for both the P.C. (in 2000) and Liberal (in 2004) parties in the past, but says he’s now a committed Wildrose member.

“And what got me going is, I listened to the leader of the Wildrose Party, Danielle Smith,” he explained. “And the one thing that sticks out with me is, she says ‘we’re sick and tired of centralized decisions being made in Edmonton.’ She supports decentralization, and local-based decision-making.”

“Right on!” he added.

Faulkner was mayor from 1997 to 2004; he succeeded Guy Boutilier after the current Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo MLA made the jump to provincial politics.

He cites the construction of low-income housing and the King Street overpass as major accomplishments during his tenure.

Although Faulkner hasn’t lived permanently in the municipality in recent years, he says that won’t be a campaign handicap.

“Just because I’ve been away, doesn’t mean I haven’t been following the news and the happenings around Fort McMurray,” he said. “I have friends here that have kept me in contact with Fort McMurray and what’s been happening here.”

Faulkner says he regularly visited his son in Fort McMurray while recently living in Edmonton.

He added that he’s moving into an apartment in Abasand on the first of February, and plans to stay regardless of the election result.

He says his experience in municipal politics will be a major campaign theme.

“I have a great advantage in being a person with twelve years of elected experience, both a councillor and a mayor,” he said.

“And my competitor [Don Scott] is a man who has just over a year’s experience, and feels that he has all the answers.”

Scott is currently running unopposed for the P.C. nomination in the riding.

Fort McMurray-Wood Buffalo MLA Guy Boutilier was, unsurprisingly, thrilled with his former colleague’s entrance into the race.

“Doug Faulkner will listen,” said Boutilier. “No-one has ever accused Doug Faulkner of toeing a party line, and I’m excited about that.”

“I look forward to campaigning with Doug, and I have always appreciated his energy and his enthusiasm and love for the good people of Fort McMurray.”

The Wildrose Party will confirm next week whether Faulkner has been declared the official candidate.