Lethbridge City Councillor Rob Miyashiro is running for Alberta NDP nomination in Lethbridge-East.
Miyashiro has served on Lethbridge City Council since 2013 and is the executive director of the Lethbridge Senior Citizens Organization. He has been a vocal supporter of harm-reduction programs like Lethbridge’s safe consumption site and in 2020 co-sponsored a by-law banning conversion therapy in Lethbridge.
“Not only has Jason Kenney downloaded costs onto cities like Lethbridge, but he has also failed to deliver on his promise of economic prosperity and jobs,” Miyashiro said in a press release.
“Rachel [Notley] is a good leader, she was a great Premier, and an NDP government will work for a truly diversified economy with good paying jobs for our community for years to come,” Miyashiro said.
This will be Miyashiro’s second time running in Lethbridge-East. He was the Alberta Liberal candidate in the district in the 2012 provincial election, placing third with 14.6 per cent of the vote behind Progressive Conservative candidate Bridget Pastoor, who crossed the floor from the Liberals in 2011, and Wildrose Party candidate Kent Prestage.
The district is currently represented by United Conservative Party MLA Nathan Neudorf, who was recently elected as Chair of the UCP Caucus following Todd Loewen’s resignation and expulsion from the UCP Caucus. Neudorf was first elected in 2019 after defeating one-term NDP MLA Maria Fitzpatrick.
Lethbridge-East has a unique voting history for a district in southern Alberta.
Lethbridge’s electoral history is more liberal-leaning than most of southern Alberta, likely due to the influence of the University of Lethbridge and Lethbridge College and a large number of public sector workers in the city.
Even during Ralph Klein’s time as Premier, the Liberals either won a plurality of the votes or matched the PC vote in the city, mostly due to the large margins of victory earned by popular Lethbridge-East MLAs Ken Nicol and Pastoor.
Nicol represented Lethbridge-East from 1993 until he jumped into federal politics in 2004.
The popular former U of L Agriculture professor with Kenny Loggins-looks first ran for the Liberal Party leadership in 1998 and later led the party and the Official Opposition from 2001 to 2004.
The soft-spoken Nicol inherited a debt-ridden party and caucus of mostly Edmonton MLAs who survived a crushing defeat in the 2001 election. And, unlike most of his Liberal colleagues, Nicol’s personal popularity in Lethbridge helped him earn a wide margin of victory in that election.
Pastoor, a Registered Nurse and popular former city councillor, was elected as a Liberal in 2004 and 2008 and later as a PC candidate in 2012 after she crossed the floor. Pastoor was succeeded by Fitzpatrick in 2015 and served until she was defeated in 2019 by Neudorf.
NDP MLA Shannon Phillips represents the neighbouring Lethbridge-West district.