July 17th, 2024

MLA Frey won’t run again

By COLLIN GALLANT on September 27, 2022.

Brooks-Medicine Hat UCP candidate Michaela Glasgo poses for a photo on election night in 2019.--NEWS FILE PHOTO

cgallant@medicinehatnews.com@CollinGallant

Michaela Frey will not seek re-election as the United Conservative MLA for the Brooks-Medicine Hat riding, she announced Monday morning, stating she planned to continue “advocating” for conservatives and the community while concentrating on “growing her family.”

The announcement coincided with her first wedding anniversary on the weekend, but Frey told the News she has long been considering her plans for the future.

“I’ll continue to serve until an election is called, but my motivation is that ultimately there are some things in life that are too precious – having kids is one of them,” said Frey, 29, a first-term MLA.

“I want to focus on that … I want to be at home in Medicine Hat to do that.”

With an election expected in May 2023, several MLAs have announced they don’t intend to run again.

That, against a backdrop of an intense party leadership contest that concludes Oct. 6, has led to general speculation about manoeuvring.

Frey is backing Rebecca Schulz, who appears to trail a trio of front runners, but Frey said her decision is personal, not political.

“It’s not a reflection on the party,” she said. “I’ll do whatever I can to make sure that we’re successful in the next election. I truly believed that we’re positioned for growth. I want to see conservatives elected in Brooks-Medicine Hat, even if it’s not me.”

The first-term MLA won the riding in 2019 with just over 60 per cent of the vote in the then new constituency which includes Medicine Hat (generally north of Third Street downtown), northern Cypress County, the county of Newell and Brooks.

Prior to running for the party, Frey worked in the constituency office of Cypress-Medicine Hat MLA Drew Barnes, who was elected as a United Conservative but now sits as an independent.

“It was a pleasure to work with you over the past several years, both in my office and as an MLA,” wrote Barnes in a social media message.

Two years ago, Frey stepped in to sponsor legislation proposed by Barnes regarding property rights and, specifically, grazing leases to avoid appearance of conflict of interest as Barnes holds leases.

Listing high points in her announcement, Frey pointed to a funding agreement with HALO for base funding of the air rescue and ambulance service.

In committee work, Frey advocated for firearms ownership rights and school choice involving support for private and charter schools.

Frey was elected as Michaela Glasgo, but changed her name after marrying her husband, Keelan Frey, an accountant who works in the Medicine Hat area, in Sept. 2021.

The party has not yet listed any information about a nomination contest to find a candidate, but this summer former Newell County councillor Mara Nesbitt announced she would seek to become the candidate. She was unavailable for comment on Monday.

Acclaim also came in social media messages from former area MP Monte Solberg and other UCP MLAs.

Opposing parties’ candidates in the riding for the next election released messages thanking Frey for her efforts.

I extend my thanks to Michaela Frey for her service to our community, and I wish her and her family all the best in the next chapter of their lives,” said NDP candidate Gwendolyn Dirk, adding she was ” energized” for the election.

Former Brooks mayor and Alberta Party Leader Barry Morishita as well extended best wishes.

“I look forward to seeing where her future endeavours will lead her,” wrote Morishita.

The situation in Cypress-Medicine Hat is also unsettled with independent MLA Drew Barnes stating he would like to rejoin the UCP caucus.

No other party has officially nominated a candidate in that riding, though New Democrats say the local association is now vetting several candidates.

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