Edmonton MLA Sarah Hoffman enters NDP leadership race

Former Alberta deputy premier Sarah Hoffman officially entered the race for the NDP leadership Sunday.

The Edmonton-Glenora MLA announced her leadership bid at the Woodcroft Community League in Edmonton.

She is the third politician to declare her intention to enter the race, joining former Alberta justice minister Kathleen Ganley and Edmonton MLA Rakhi Pancholi.

Hoffman was introduced by Katherine Swampy and Nathan Ip and then announced she was a “proud New Democrat” amid her announcement on Super Bowl Sunday.

“I know it’s Super Bowl Sunday. Can you tell I dressed for the Super Bowl?” she said to crowd in front of her and behind on stage.

After the former Alberta health minister talked about putting on her “Taylor Swift red lipstick” for the sporting occasion, she then went into the faults of the United Conservative Party.

“Our values as New Democrats are crucial to solving the problems we’re facing today,” said Hoffman.

“We must fix our public health care after five years of UCP sabotage. We must get every Albertan a safe and affordable home after five years of UCP cruelty. And we must respond urgently to the climate crisis that threatens our way of life.”

Hoffman then talked about her father and mother, a school principal and kindergarten teacher respectively in the rural community of Kinuso. She wanted to be a teacher, though her father told her the province has never respected or cared for teachers. She decided to enter education anyway.

Detailing her venture into the NDP, she talked about her time running for the school board amid numerous closures of neighbourhood schools, saying she would never consider holding any kind of public office.

“Women like me, we’re not supposed to go into politics,” she said.

“I’m fat, I’m sassy, and I have a really hard time pretending to be someone that I’m not.”

She ended up winning 70 per cent of the vote, which was the first of five election wins.

Sarah Hoffman speaks to reporters after announcing her bid for the leadership of the Alberta NDP in Edmonton on Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024. (Adrienne South, CityNews)

Hoffman says her campaign priorities involve maintaining human rights, health, climate, and a commitment to the NDP.

“I want to run a clean, forward thinking, positive campaign that looks at ideas and we are building,” she told reporters following the announcement. “An amazing team to get us all read for 2027. I feel it in this room — that’s definitely what the people of those rooms want me to do too”

Watch: Rachel Notley steps down as leader

The New Democrat, who says she is not a liberal, and “people across Alberta will know that too,” grew up in rural Alberta with “a couple hundred people and NDP values were our community values.”

“When we needed help getting to a hospital, there was a phone tree and somebody would drive somebody to hospital. When you need to get your farm off your field farmers would help each other out.

“I think it’s important to talk about our values and that we show up for rural Alberta. And it’s not OK with me that my hometown had a UCP MLA so we are going to be there, we’re going to work hard and we’re going to change that.”

Ganley was the first to announce her run for the position on Monday, which was followed by Pancholi on Thursday.

Current NDP Leader Rachel Notley stepped down on Jan. 16, but will remain on the front bench during the spring sitting.

The race to replace Notley will wrap up on June 22.

–With files from Adrienne South, CityNews

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