Regina—Long-time Saskatchewan Party MLA Bob Bjornerud today announced that he will not be running in the next election, expected in 2016. Bjornerud is the MLA for Melville-Saltcoats, was a founding member of the Saskatchewan Party and served as Minister of Agriculture for five years in the Saskatchewan Party government.
“Representing the voters of my constituency has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life and I want to thank them for their support through five elections and five terms as MLA,” Bjornerud said. “Even though I don’t look like it, I will be 70 by the time of the next election, so I think it is time for someone else to carry the Saskatchewan Party banner into that election.”
Bjornerud was first elected as the Liberal MLA for Saltcoats in 1995, defeating his NDP opponent by just under 600 voters. In 1997, Bjornerud was heavily involved in the discussions to start a new party and on August 8, 1997, he joined with seven other Liberal and Progressive Conservative MLAs to form the new Saskatchewan Party.
In his first election as a Saskatchewan Party candidate in 1999, Bjornerud won by over 2,800 votes. In 2003, Bjornerud was elected in the new constituency of Melville-Saltcoats. In the last election in 2011, Bjornerud was re-elected with 73 per cent of the popular vote.
Prior to running for a seat in the Legislature, Bjornerud served on the Rural Municipality of Saltcoats council for 14 years. Bjornerud said he entered provincial politics because he wanted to help reverse the decline of rural Saskatchewan under the NDP.
“No one in rural Saskatchewan was happy with the direction of the NDP so I thought I can either complain about it or I can try to do something to change it,” Bjornerud said. “Since 2007, we have had a Premier and a government that believes in rural Saskatchewan and we have seen a complete turnaround from decline under the NDP to growth and optimism today. There is more work to do but we’re on the right track.”
Premier Brad Wall said Bob Bjornerud has been an unwavering voice for rural Saskatchewan, first in Opposition and then within the Saskatchewan Party government.
“Bob would never call himself this but I will – he’s been a champion for rural Saskatchewan,” Wall said. “That’s why he was the obvious choice to be our government’s first Agriculture Minister, and the leadership he showed has benefitted producers and farm families in every corner of the province.”
“Bob’s leadership has also meant a lot to our party politically. He deserves a lot of credit for the fact that today the Saskatchewan Party represents every rural seat in the province – something which we will never take for granted.”
The Saskatchewan Party has now nominated 25 candidates with 7 more nomination meetings scheduled in the coming weeks. 40 Saskatchewan Party MLAs have indicated they intend to run in the next provincial election.
For more information: The Saskatchewan Party, 306.359.1638 or 1.800.966.9611.