Miltenberger running for record sixth term as MLA of Thebacha

Miltenberger running for record sixth term as MLA of Thebacha
Thebacha MLA Michael Miltenberger wins his seat for the fifth time in October, 2011. Miltenberger recently told the Journal that he is planning to run for a record sixth term in legislature this fall.Paul Bannister

The majority of MLAs in the Northwest Territories plan to run again in the coming territorial election on Nov. 23, including one who is at the tail-end of one of the longest terms in NWT history. Thebacha MLA Michael Miltenberger told the Journal on Friday that he is indeed putting his name forward for what

The majority of MLAs in the Northwest Territories plan to run again in the coming territorial election on Nov. 23, including one who is at the tail-end of one of the longest terms in NWT history.

Thebacha MLA Michael Miltenberger told the Journal on Friday that he is indeed putting his name forward for what would be a record sixth term in legislature this fall, giving “lots of encouragement and lots of unfinished business” as his reasons for running.

The cabinet minister, who currently holds portfolios in Finance, Environment and Natural Resources and the NT Power Corp., is one of the longest-serving MLAs in NWT history, sharing the five-term record with three others.

Though many suspected this would be his year to retire, Miltenberger, 64, said there’s a number of incomplete initiatives coming out of devolution that he wants to see realized before he hangs up his hat.

“We need to ensure expenditures don’t exceed revenues in the coming years,” he noted as a primary aim, along with the completion of the outstanding bilaterals with surrounding jurisdictions over transboundary water issues, and significant pieces of legislation that will be done over the 18th Assembly dealing with forestry, parks and water.

With the NWT finally accessing a higher borrowing limit from the federal government, Miltenberger said he also wants to be involved in guiding the territory towards investments in more alternative energy that will address the cost of living and climate change.

“We have to make clear, careful decisions on energy investments,” he said.

In his home riding of Thebacha, he said he will push for a local fire centre and the paving of Highway 5 to finally make the capital expenditures list during the next assembly.

While it’s obvious Miltenberger hopes to regain his spot in cabinet, likely with the same portfolios, he said he’s uncertain about throwing in his hat for a chance at premier. Though he put his name forward in 2011, if Bob McLeod runs for a second term as premier, Miltenberger said he would stand down and offer his support to the incumbent.

Still, he said, he is not thinking that far ahead just yet.

“The first chore is to get re-elected.”

Majority seeking re-election

The majority of the territory’s current 19 MLAs are seeking re-election this fall. Only Frame Lake MLA Wendy Bisaro and, more recently, Weledeh MLA Bob Bromley have formally announced they will be retiring from politics this year.

“Eight years seems good, and I kind of got started late in politics,” Bromley told the Journal of his decision, which somewhat factored in the changes happening in his riding. The controversial decision to amalgamate part of Weledeh and the constituency of Tu Nedhe is already the subject of legal action by the city of Yellowknife, and could see more from the chiefs of the Yellowknives Dene, Deninu Kue and Lutsel K’e Dene First Nations.

“It will certainly be different this time with the changes in definitions of ridings, with possibly more changes coming depending on the court review of Yellowknife’s official concern on Aug. 12,” Bromley said.

Nahendeh MLA Kevin Menicoche, who had been sitting on the fence for some time, told the Journal last week that his constituents, family and spouse were pleased he would be seeking mandate for a fourth term as MLA.

The only MLAs yet to publicize their decisions are current speaker and Nunakput MLA Jackie Jacobson, Tu Nedhe MLA and Transportation Minister Tom Beaulieu, and Hay River South MLA Jane Groenewegen who, like Miltenberger, would be trying for her sixth term in legislature.

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