New Alberta NDP MLAs: A nurse, students, a yoga teacher and more
Chris Purdy, The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, May 6, 2015 6:52PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, May 7, 2015 7:33AM EDT
EDMONTON -- Several post-secondary students, a former school principal, a nurse and a yoga teacher.
Alberta's new NDP government caucus is a mixed bag of professions and ages. Almost half are women and three are believed to be the first openly gay members of the Alberta legislature.
Ricardo Miranda, 38, immigrated to Canada from Nicaragua as a child with his family. He took a leave from his job as a flight attendant with Air Canada to work as a researcher with the Canadian Union of Public Employees before taking the plunge into politics.
While battling Calgary's former police chief Rick Hanson in the riding of Calgary Cross, Miranda said being gay didn't come up as a campaign issue. And he never thought winning his seat Tuesday night would make it monumental.
"It never even crossed my mind that it could be a first. Because now, from what I understand, there are three," Miranda said Wednesday.
"It speaks to the character of Albertans and what they believe in."
Kris Wells, with the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services at the University of Alberta, said he thinks the three are the first openly LGBTQ members of the legislature, and that's "good news."
During her first news conference, premier-designate Rachel Notley told reporters that many of her 53 caucus members may be new to politics, but they all have skills she will draw on when she forms her first cabinet. She said what's historic to her is the number of women.
"I'm so proud that they reflect the diversity of the province ... We have people from all walks of life.
"Albertans will look at our government and see themselves."
A campaign biography for Deborah Drever, the winner in Calgary Bow, says she is a sociology student at Mount Royal University who lives with her grandmother. Debbie Jabbour in Peace River is a grandmother and psychologist.
Bruce Hinkley, the new representative for Wetaskiwin-Camrose, is a former school principal.
Danielle Larivee, a public health nurse, will be done with giving needles and visiting new moms at home after winning her seat in Lesser Slave Lake. The 40-year-old concedes that many new NDP politicians have a "steep learning curve" ahead but will do their very best.
Shaye Anderson in Leduc-Beaumont is a Telus technician and union steward who plays rugby. He also has a long, bushy "Duck Dynasty" style beard that has been getting some plucky tugs on Twitter.
Brandy Payne said it's funny how her job showing people how to do downward dog became a focus of her campaign in Calgary Acadia. The 36-year-old mother said she's "much more than just a bendy yoga teacher."
She studied journalism and was an active student political organizer.
"We do have a lot of fresh faces in the government," Payne said.
"We're all aware we're new as MLAs. And everyone's prepared to get into Edmonton and work really hard to prove to the folks of Alberta that they made the right choice."