A woman new to politics is hoping to claim the La Verendrye Progressive Conservative nomination this week.
The vote became necessary after MLA Dennis Smook announced that he will not be seeking re-election when Manitobans head to the polls for a provincial election in 2023. Though a candidate will be voted in this week, Smook will remain the MLA until the general election is called.
Jen Brandt is hoping to be that candidate. Brandt has been involved in the family business Crikside Enterprises for more than two decades. She is a mother of three, as well as a grandmother, and does some farming and plenty of volunteer work. And, though she has served on various sports and community boards, Brandt admits that running for politics is something new to her.
"I'm not a politician and I don't really have a lot of experience within the political world," she says. "I am kind of saying I'm the non-political politician going into things with a fresh outlook on the way maybe things should be."
Brandt says she is a Conservative and always has been. She adds her decision to run was to give an option for change.
"I think that things are becoming quite political the way things are going," says Brandt. "I'm trying to break up the boy's club a little bit and give a fresh and honest take on a representative."
Brandt says if she wins the vote on Thursday, she would be the first female PC candidate in the history of La Verendrye, building off what happened in the Midland constituency last month when Lauren Stone was selected there.
Her priorities include connecting with constituents to figure out what their needs are, bringing additional seniors housing to La Verendrye and improving health care.
She says the decision to run has been in the back of her mind for quite some time and says the support she has felt towards this bid has been overwhelming and humbling.
"I've always been very interested in politics and respected the processes and why they are in place," adds Brandt. "And I think for me it's just been time to take the next step and see how I can serve."
The Progressive Conservative nomination for La Verendrye will happen November 10th at Sarto Hall. Registration takes place at 4 pm with polls open from 4 - 8 pm. Speeches are scheduled for 7 pm. The deadline to purchase a membership in order to vote has already passed.