Sarah Elmeligi has scheduled her first coffee chats in Bragg Creek since winning the Alberta NDP nomination in the Banff-Kananaskis riding.

Elmeligi is in Bragg Creek on Apr. 10 and 12, both times from 1 to 3 p.m., at the Trail Head Meetup Space to listen to the concerns of residents in preparation for her attempt to unseat UCP MLA Miranda Rosin next spring.

She was chosen from a slate of four candidates seeking the nomination on Mar. 27.

The Canmore-based bear biologist and conservation planner is new to politics and was drawn into the arena because of her disenchantment with the current representation.

"I became increasingly concerned that I wasn't being represented in the Legislature. Through conversations with my friends and my network, I found I wasn't alone in that feeling."

She is co-chair NDP environment caucus and as she became more familiar with the party and its leader Rachel Notley found their vision aligned with her own.

She uses a collaborative approach in her career and wants to apply the same as MLA, believing the UCP is divisive.

"I would like to be the kind of MLA that celebrates that diversity, that creates a collaborative working environment, recognizing that just because we're different and we might disagree, doesn't mean that we can't come together to find common ground and problem solve the really complex problems of our time."

She lists climate change, health care, and education curriculum among those issues.

Elmeligi has resided in Canmore for 15 years and her work sees her travel throughout the constituency to learn what's important to residents. She used that same approach after announcing her candidacy for the NDP nomination and intends to notch up the dialogue leading up to the provincial election. 

"We have a diverse riding, and I really want to meet with people from Springbank all the way to Lake Louise and everywhere in between to learn what is important, what are the issues in their community, and how can the NDP make life better for them."

"Part of an MLA's job is to represent all constituents, not just the ones that voted for you. So I think understanding your constituents, whether they identify as conservative, NDP,  Green, or whatever party they ally with, understanding their issues, and talking to people is important to me."