On January 16, Rachel Notley announced she was stepping down from being the leader of Alberta's New Democratic Party (NDP).

Former candidate for the NDP in the Airdrie-East riding, Dan Nelles, is very thankful for the leadership Notley provided since 2014.

"It was a bit of a sad day Tuesday as Rachel has done so much for this province and so much for the Alberta NDP. At the same time, it opens up a really exciting avenue to have some conversations about the future of the province and the future of the party."

Notley was the Alberta Premier from 2015 to 2019, since losing two provincial elections to the United Conservative Party.

"She has turned this province from a one-party conservative state into something where a non-conservative party can have enormous success on the provincial stage."

When asked about possibly running for the leadership position, Nelles stated this is something that is not even close to being on his radar, but he is interested in running for the Airdrie-East Member of the Legislative Assembly.

"The decision is going to largely depend on what my family has to say about it and what the constituents in Airdrie have to say."

When it comes to electing a new leader, Nelles hopes communities like Airdrie get more attention.

"It felt to me like mid-sized urban municipalities were somewhat ignored by both parties in the most recent election. For any future leader of the Alberta NDP, I want to make sure that that individual has a firm understanding of the challenges facing Airdrie and is willing to step up and actively work to address those needs."

Nelles stated it would be important for the leader to engage with  Albertans.

"They have to also be able to clearly articulate a vision for this province, and get people engaged and energized to get on board with that vision."

Being able to provide a government that is fiscally responsible and committed to balancing budgets is another key factor for Nelles.

"What I heard at the doors is that people expect the NDP to be very attentive to the social needs of Albertans in addressing the needs of our most vulnerable populations, they may not have heard enough about that in the previous elections."

Nelles finished off by saying he wished Notley the best and that he enjoyed his time working alongside her.

Notley will remain as the leader until a new one is chosen.

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