ELECTION 2015: From martial arts instructor to MP, incumbent Dan Albas says he's ready to fight

Conservative MP incumbent and candidate Dan Albas at his West Kelowna headquarters.

WEST KELOWNA – Dan Albas is not just a Conservative, he says, he is also a trusted local politician who puts his constituents needs ahead of his party.

The incumbent is seeking re-election in the newly formed riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola.

The new riding, which as of 2015 encompasses areas from three different electoral districts, is made up of a vast and diverse population. Albas says while this makes it harder for candidates to make promises which will appeal to everyone, the range of voices he hears from will make him a better leader.

“I love people,” he says at his headquarters in West Kelowna. “I believe a member has to be a problem solver. I love hearing the issues and then working on them.”

Albas, 38, was born in Victoria but got his start in politics when he was elected to city council in Penticton in 2008. Before that he ran a successful martial arts school and was named Penticton’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2005. He moved to West Kelowna in 2012 after winning the election in 2011. He is married and has four children.

He was appointed to the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities and introduced legislation which made it possible to import wine from another province for personal consumption, something he says he is very proud of.

He also helped bring into law the new Aquatic Invasive Species regulations intended to protect local lakes from invasive zebra and quagga mussels. In 2015 the Ottawa Citizen recognized him as one of only five MPs in the country with a perfect voting attendance record.

Albas says his focus moving forward is to continue making his riding a better place to live for working families and those on fixed incomes.

He says his priorities are the economy first, but also issues like national security, continuing to increase funds for armed forces reserves and making sure voters feel like they have a voice in Ottawa.

“I don’t have a magic wand but I can help them engage with the system,” he says. “When they call an MP they don’t want a form letter. They want to feel like they’re listened to.”

And despite the district’s history of voting Conservative, Albas says he isn’t taking anything for granted.

“Every election is different, every riding is different… and I’m going to approach it very similarly to last time.”

For more information on Dan Albas and the Conservative Party you can visit his election website.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Adam Proskiw at aproskiw@infonews.ca or call 250-718-0428. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

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