By Rob Vogt, Local Press Writer
The three men seeking the nomination for the United Conservative Party in Livingstone-Macleod introduced themselves to party members and interested guests at a candidates forum on Monday night.
The lodge room of the Claresholm Community Centre was full on Dec. 3 to hear why they should support Nathan Neudorf, Roger Reid or Thomas Schneider.
Neudorf said ever since he was 21 he has wanted to seek election.
However, his family suggested he go out and learn some skills first.
So, he started three different businesses, spending a lot of time in construction.
Neudorf has also spent a lot of time in Southern Alberta, including Claresholm where he helped build the museum’s exhibit hall.
He eventually sold his businesses and has been a project manager the past seven years.
Neudorf lives in Lethbridge County, is married to an emergency room nurse, and they have five children.
The youngest is in middle school and the oldest is in university.
He wants to represent everyone, whether from a farm, small business or anywhere else.
One of the reasons he is running is the previous government forgot how to listen to the people. The current one is driven by an ideological agenda.
That is why, he said, it has never been more important for Albertans to stand up.
“We are here listening to you,” he said.
Reid was born and raised in Claresholm, and his family has been here five generations.
“It’s good to be home,” he said.
Reid has spent his time travelling up and down the riding, and has heard all three candidates say the same things.
They want lower taxes and smaller government.
He said he believes he lives in the best part of Alberta, a place where people share the same values, the same hopes, and the same dreams.
No one wants to see their children leave the area to seek better opportunities.
Reid said he graduated from Willow Creek Composite High School in 1985.
In his 20s he was a pastor, in his 30s he worked in high tech, and in his 40s started his own business.
Amidst that, he met his wife and soulmate Darleen.
In 2010, they moved back to Claresholm where they opened a Tim Horton’s franchise.
“No better place to be,” Reid said.
They have since opened another location in Nanton, and all told they employ 65 people who pay taxes and spend their money in the community. They also volunteer, invest in, and give back to the community.
Schneider believes the nominee needs to have energy, drive and passion.
He grew up in Cranbrook, is a husband and father to three young children.
While still in B.C., he had the opportunity to run a UPS in Kelowna, where they were able to not only be successful, but increase sales during recessionary times.
They came to Alberta about seven years ago, where Schneider worked for Canada Post. He saw how government works, and doesn’t work, in that job.
He also worked to restore mail service to High River, when it was devastated by flooding.
Schneider then joined the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, where he has worked the last three years.
He has been a lifelong Conservative, served on constituency boards, and wrote his master’s thesis on the right to bear arms.
Schneider has seen the effects of NDP government policies such as the carbon tax, and Bill 6, which brought occupational health and safety to farms and ranches.
That has to end.
“In six months, we have an opportunity to re-launch the Alberta advantage,” Schneider said.
The candidates also fielded questions on topics such as the carbon tax, health care, education, the oil and gas industry, the Farm Safety Act, accountability, attracting youth, the increase to minimum wage, municipal funding and more.
Party members will cast their ballots in Claresholm on Friday, Dec. 7, with the winner announced on Saturday, Dec. 8.