UCP leadership hopeful Dr. Raj Sherman visited Lethbridge Friday to gather signatures needed to register as a candidate by the deadline on July 20.
Sherman is one of nine members seeking endorsement in the leadership race, among others like Danielle Smith and Travis Toews.
As of Friday, the UCP website only has one official candidate registered, Toews. With less than a week away the race to register is narrowing down the competition.
Sherman is a former PC MLA and Alberta Liberal Party leader back in 2011, now coming back into the fray after announcing he would leave politics seven years ago. Running on a campaign of unity, he hopes to make changes in the fields of education, healthcare, and economy.
Calling his campaign a platform of common sense, Sherman was in Lethbridge on Friday to outline his vision for the party and province.
“My number one issue is actually unity. COVID has been a game changer. When this government came in first, we had the collapse of oil prices, ballooning deficits, and debt before Premier Kenney and his team came in.”
Sherman was originally born in India, travelling to Squamish, BC in 1972 with his family. He moved to Edmonton in 1984 where he attended the University of Alberta and graduated from the faculty of medicine in 1990.
Sherman feels his expertise in medicine makes him a welcome candidate given the recent issues in the province surrounding health care.
“I want to centralize standards of care, measurement tools, bulk purchasing, and computerized systems. You want to keep healthcare delivery local, to the local level. Your local hospital administrator should be able to work with the local communities to get you the health care that they need. You can’t manage the health care system from 300 miles away.”
For Lethbridge, Sherman say he would seek a way to improve issues in the health care system with incentives to younger generations and focusing on keeping medical professionals in the province.
“There’s a 70-70 rule, 70 per cent of young people live and work within 70 km of where they’re trained. That’s because you’re young and find a life partner, and grow to love the community. So, I think it’s about time that we have rural health schools. British Columbia has a Rural Health Campus in Prince George and in Kelowna and we need to have one in Grande Prairie, Fort McMurray, Red Deer, Medicine Hat, and Lethbridge.
With a looming deadline fast approaching Sherman says he hopes residents in Alberta will get involved in the democratic process and help shape the future of Alberta’s politics.
To be fully registered a candidate needs 1,000 signatures, with 200 from each of the party’s five provincial regions.
Ryan Clarke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Lethbridge Herald