Connie Russell is running for the Freedom Conservative Party (FCP) in the Peace River constituency.
Russell lives near Dixonville, and farms with her husband, and has also been a foster parent for almost 10 years.
The Freedom Conservative Party is the party formed by former UCP MLA Derek Fildebrandt after he was kicked out of the UCP caucus by leader Jason Kenney to sit as an independent, and then banned from running as a UCP candidate.
On her Facebook page and campaign literature, Russell says, “I did not come into wanting to becoming a candidate for the Freedom Conservative Party Of Alberta lightly. It has been with much prayer seeking the Lord for His direction for me in this, and the support of my husband Clifford that I have chosen to do so. It also comes about from checking out every detail of what the Freedom Conservative Party Of Alberta stands for, and what they will fight for, that I have decided to run as a Candidate to give the Peace River ED No. 77 riding a choice for a change.”
“To be honest with you, I felt called to do it,” Russell tells the Express.
Russell feels the freedom promised by Freedom Conservative Party can make her a more effective MLA than a member of the other parties.
“I chose this party because I believe I can represent the people without having my hand ties and saying no you can’t vote for this and no you can’t vote for this and you have to vote this,” she says.
“I felt that it gave me freedom to be able to properly represent, to be able to make promises of what I would do rather than making promises that I would do something and then find out that somebody over me is saying you can’t.”
“Being a foster parent for over ten years has taught me how to advocate, advocate, advocate. I believe that a really good MLA needs to be an advocate,” Russell says.
“Our [child and family services] system is very broken. It’s a broken system that needs fixed. Because I’m a foster parent I’m privy to a lot of things the general public is not privy to, and it’s one of the things I’m very compassionate about, to be able to step in and try to fix some of the areas that I know could be fixed.”
At election forums, Russell has repeatedly emphasized the FCP’s promise to end equalization payments to the east as a way to return prosperity to Alberta.