We are a week away from the UCP nomination vote and we thought we would do one more interview with each candidate vying to represent the Airdrie- Cochrane riding for the United Conservative Party.
Laura Talsma may be quite petite but she has no problem standing tall when it comes to representing the Airdrie-Cochrane riding.
Feeling that she represents the average Albertan well, her life and job experience as a nurse makes her relatable on many levels. "I am just like them. Our family needs to work hard to make a living, we've struggled through hardships like many others in our constituency right now. I have children in the education system and I have healthcare experience that makes me see things from a different perspective."
With a very supportive family behind her, Talsma understands what it is like to have a spouse out of work for a period of time. "My husband was off work and we have been hit hard, and that is what a lot of our constituents are facing. The economics of how to make ends meet is very difficult."
The second biggest topic of concern Talsma has heard at the door is about the education system. With kids currently in the system, she gets it. "My kids are in the thick of it and we need to come together on a united front in regards to that and help out. I have a sense of urgency because my kids are going through it and I want to make sure they have the best opportunities presented to them."
With a career in healthcare that is union represented you may think Talsma would align with more NDP philosophies but she says not at all. "There are a lot of conservative minded people within the public sector and I don't want to push them away, I actually want them to come to us. There is a lot of value they hold and I want to make sure that our frontline staff is supported and feel supported. I think the generalization that I am in the union and not conservative is untrue, and I am going to be pretty bold here and say that I actually think I am the most conservative out of all of the nominees. I have had that conversation but I just say keep an open mind and look at my platforms."
If Talsma wins the nomination race and represents the Airdrie-Cochrane riding provincially she says her top priorities will be on infrastructure, education, and healthcare but her major priority will be the economy. "Number one, we need to get the economy and the books back in order. It makes a big difference in people's disposable income, in everyday business and people's personal lives to be able to afford to put your kids in swimming or extend your senior cheque over a longer period of time. It is absolutely horrible the pressures people are under, so I think the economy has to be number one."
Campaigning has been a great experience for Talsma and she has gained a lot of insight along the way. "It has been an amazing journey; I have gotten way more engaged in my community than I thought I was before. I think we live in an amazing place and I am honoured to have the opportunity and I would be even more honoured if people put my name at the top. I think that we have a lot of work to do but I am ready for the challenge and I am excited about the next steps."
There are two dates set for Airdrie-Cochrane UCP members to cast their vote and those are as follows (you can vote at either):
Airdrie Polling Station, October 18th from 12 pm to 8 pm at the Goldenrod Community Hall
Cochrane Polling Station, October 20th from 9 am to 5 pm at the Cochrane RancheHouse
Giving the last word to Laura Talsma, she states make sure you hit the polls. "If people don't think their vote's matter, look what just happened in the past few years. Votes matter, policy matters and the person you choose to represent you matters. I think we have a very strong constituency and we need to take that and leverage it and we need a strong voice."