Grande Prairie-Wapiti MLA Wayne Drysdale is retiring after 10 years in provincial politics.
He won't be running again once a provincial election is called in 2019, Drysdale announced today.
"It's an honour to serve in that position and to be out there," he said. "And it will be the biggest highlight of my life."
Drysdale is announcing his retirement now because he says he wanted to give his constituency some time to do a proper nomination.
"I think it's the right time for me. I've done my time and I think it's time for the new generation to step up."
"I am sure we will find somebody great to take the position. I hope it's a great young, smart, intelligent, young lady that does it. That's what we need here. We'll be looking for somebody like that."
Looking back, Drysdale says he was able to accomplish a lot with the support everyone in the community showed him.
"I never wanted to be an MLA or a Minister, but you start out in the community on the volunteer fire department or minor hockey and it just builds. I started doing this just to give back to my community and better it and I like to hope I've helped along the way and I've left it in a better place than I found it, he said.
I want to thank all my supporters over the years and the community, otherwise, I wouldn't have been there. I'm proud of what we have accomplished together."
Some highlights of his career include his time as Infrastructure Minister and the work that was done.
Schools that are still opening today, Drysdale had a part in.
"There was a whole pile of new schools that were built in Grande Prairie in the last eight years or so and as Infrastructure Minister I had a lot to do with that," he said, " Grande Prairie is growing, there's always going to be a need for more schools."
And although it is not complete yet, Drysdale did have a big hand in the building of Grande Prairie's new hospital.
“It's going to change health care in the region for years to come. I will be excited to see it finally open next year."
Drysdale is looking forward to the next election and says he has all the confidence in the world that Jason Kenney and the UCP are going to form the next government and that Kenney is the right guy to do it.
"I'll do whatever I can over the next year to help that, whether it's local or provincially."
"I've got all the confidence in Jason Kenney. Even though I wasn't always his supporter, he's treated me with nothing but respect and he deserves to be the leader. He's proven himself pretty well. There's no doubt that he is the right guy and I support him."
Drysdale says although Kenney would have liked to see him and his experience stick around, he was very understanding and respectful of his decision to leave politics.
While he is still MLA until the next election he says he will continue to push for Highway 40 twinning and the Beaverlodge hospital.
Once he is officially retired, he plans to spend more time with family and do some more camping. He says he will take a couple months off for sure and then maybe find some interesting projects to do, but probably not another full-time job.
w/ files from Justine Kelsie
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