Nancy Heppner is retiring as MLA for Martensville-Warman.
The long-time MLA, who was first elected in a 2007 by-election, announced on Tuesday, January 8 that she will not be seeking another term.
“It’s time,” said Heppner in an interview on January 8. “I have been thinking about this for a while now, and this seemed like a natural time to step down. It will give the new candidates time to organize their campaigns and the party to hold nomination meetings.
“When I was first elected, I met with the mayors and reeves in my riding, and I put together a list of things the communities were looking for. That list is now done. I’m proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish and now it’s a natural time for someone else to draw up a new list.”
She said she’s especially proud of being able to help bring a new municipal water system to Hepburn.
“That was a big one,” she said. “It’s very gratifying to see the community get a very reliable, safe source of water. When I was first elected, I knew that had to be a priority. The people were on wells and the water was not safe. Many people didn’t want to even bathe their children in it. Considering where we live and the times we’re in, that was shocking. I worked hard to get that project approved.”
She said another priority was new schools. She said overcrowding in Martensville and Warman schools was a serious problem, and the previous NDP administration had no plans to address the issue.
“I advocated pretty hard, and now we have five new schools and an expanded high school,” she said. “The other big one is the improvements to highways 305 and 684, and the completion of the overpasses at Warman and Martensville.”
Heppner said the constituency of Martensville-Warman is a “great riding” and she expects many candidates will be contesting the nomination for the governing Saskatchewan Party.
“I’m sure it will be hotly contested,” she said. “It will be an interesting race to watch. In a way it will be a bit tough, because I really want to leave it in good hands.”
Heppner added that she will remain neutral in the upcoming nomination race.
Now in her late-40s, Heppner will still be MLA for another 20 months, during which time she intends to work as hard as ever for her constituents.
“Right now we’re in the middle of putting together next year’s provincial budget,” she said. “And I’m sure the next 20 months will go very fast.”
Heppner said she’s grateful to her constituents for voting for her into the provincial Legislature in 2007, and for re-electing her in general elections in 2007, 2011 and 2016. She initially ran in the riding of Martensville, taking over the seat held by her late father, Ben Heppner. In the last election, she won her seat with 79 per cent of the vote.
In addition to serving on the Treasury Board for many years, she has also been minister of several cabinet portfolios, including Environment, Highways, Central Services, and Energy and Resources.
Heppner began her political career as a constituency assistant to now-retired Member of Parliament Carol Skelton, and said she learned a tremendous amount during her years working in that capacity in Ottawa.
“That was a great education and a lot of fun.”
Heppner said she will remain active in the party at a grassroots level.
“I have no idea what my future holds,” she concluded, “but politics is in my blood.”