The MLA for La Verendrye has announced he will not be seeking re-election.

The next general election in Manitoba could still be almost a year away. But Progressive Conservative MLA Dennis Smook has already announced that his name will not be on that ballot.

That means constituents of La Verendrye will soon get a chance to nominate their PC candidate for the next election. However, even once that nominee is announced, Smook will continue to serve as MLA until the general election is called.

"The main thing is that I will still represent them because there are a number of issues that I would like to see finished off before I leave La Verendrye," says Smook. "I want to thank them for believing in me and supporting me, but I still am the MLA for La Verendrye and I will continue to work for the constituents of La Verendrye."

Smook was first elected to office in October of 2011. The 69-year-old says he enjoys his job and notes this has been a difficult decision to make.

"But I turn 70 next year," he says. "I have some minor health issues and I have grandchildren. There's a number of things on my bucket list that I still haven't accomplished, so I'd like to get some of that done."

According to Smook, announcing his decision this early will allow the next candidate to be selected, giving that individual an opportunity to get to know their constituents. 

"This just gives that person the opportunity to talk to people and say that in the next provincial election I will be running as the PC candidate in La Verendrye and look for their support," he adds.

Smook says this will also give him a chance to work with the nominee and provide some guidance.