Kelvin Goertzen is seeking a sixth term in office.
The Steinbach Progressive Conservative Association has named Goertzen its candidate in the October election. He has served as the MLA for Steinbach since 2003.
Goertzen says deciding to let his name stand as Steinbach's PC candidate was a more difficult decision this time around, than in years past.
"I've been in the legislature for a while, I've held a number of positions, I'm getting a little bit older," he says, giving reasons for why the decision took a little more consideration.
Goertzen says previous times, the nomination process would happen about a year before an election. However, this time it was finalized only about seven months before Manitobans head to the polls. Goertzen says he used the extra time to ask the advice of those around him, noting he talked to hundreds of constituents to get their thoughts.
"We were really overwhelmed by the vast majority of people that came to speak to us and that we spoke to, who were encouraging us to run again," notes Goertzen.
He says those opinions weighed heavily on his decision, more than in past elections when it was mostly a family decision.
"We really spoke to a lot of people, so that accounts for the amount of time that I think it took this time to do the nomination," he adds.
Goertzen says having the support from family, constituents and the Steinbach PC Association means a great deal to him and is something that he never takes for granted. He says during his 20 years in office, he has been fortunate to hold a number of different positions, including Premier, Deputy Premier and Minister, but, he notes those are not positions he ran for.
"Those are positions that if you form government, you might be fortunate enough to be appointed to," he says. "I only run, when I'm on the ballot, for one position, and that's to be the MLA for Steinbach, and that's the most important job to me."
For that reason, he says when your association and your community want you to continue in that job, it means a lot.
"After 20 years it wouldn't be unusual for a lot of people to say, 'well maybe we've had enough of you,' I get that," he notes. "But we largely got people who were saying, 'we support you and want you to do this one more time.'"
Goertzen is seeking another term in office, while many other PC MLAs have announced plans to step away from politics. The Steinbach MLA cautions against reading too much into that. He notes the problem is that many Manitobans are looking at the collective group and assuming that the large number of politicians that are not running again, must mean something. Goertzen says you must rather look at each one of those individual decisions.
"I think when you look at each individual who is deciding not to run again, each one makes sense on their own," he explains.
For example, he says some MLAs have served a long time, others have reached a certain age and then there are also health considerations to keep in mind. And, Goertzen says because he knows each individual, the reasons for why they are not running again probably make more sense to him than to other Manitobans.
"A lot of them I've served with for years if not decades, and so I understand what's gone into each one of their decisions," he adds.
With respect to the upcoming election, Goertzen says he is optimistic for his party's chances, noting you cannot always believe what the polls are suggesting. For example, he says the Conservatives were victorious in the last couple of byelections in Winnipeg, even though the pollsters said they could not win. Goertzen also recalls the opposite happening, when the Conservatives were expected to win the 2011 election, but ultimately came up well short.
"I'm optimistic that Manitobans will make a decision that's favourable to us," he adds. "But I also recognize, elections are democratic decisions, people have the right to make the decision that they make. I always respect voters and the decisions that they make."