Community advocate and local radio host Jodi Calahoo Stonehouse kickstarted her nomination campaign to be the NDP candidate for Edmonton-Rutherford.

Two-time MLA and former cabinet minister Richard Feehan announced on Friday he would not run for the seat in the province’s next general election.

On Sunday, Calahoo Stonehouse said it was “tough” to see Feehan go but was excited for the challenge of entering provincial politics.

“(Feehan) did so many things for Indigenous, First Nations, and Metis people in this province,” she said. “He has the hugest moccasins to fill, and I feel like a little girl grabbing big rubber boots.”

Calahoo Stonehouse is Cree and Mohawk from Michel First Nation who serves as a member of the Edmonton Police Commission and is an award-winning broadcaster and producer of Acimowin, an Indigenous radio program.

As a fellow Indigenous politician, Blake Desjarlais, NDP MP for Edmonton Griesbach, said that now is the time for better representation at all levels in Canada.

“We have waited far too long for things to get better for Indigenous people,” Desjarlais said. “We deserve a voice.

“We need Jodi,” Desjarlais added. “Our province needs Jodi.”

Calahoo Stonehouse said she is inspired by Rachel Notley’s leadership and wants to push for more action on affordability, addressing climate change and inequality in Alberta.

“We care about our teachers, our educators, our nurses, our doctors, our healthcare system,” she said. “Now more than ever we need to take care of the people who take care of us.”

“Learning from science and history, from what people are doing around the world, we can make Alberta the leading province of this country.”

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The NDP has not set a date for the Edmonton-Rutherford nomination meeting.

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