In the southern part of the territory, newspaper publisher Don Jaque said he will not use his paper for an advantage over his opponents - incumbent Michael Miltenberger and Louis Sebert - as he runs for MLA in Thebacha.
“The reputation and credibility of the paper means a great deal to me and I would never jeopardize it,”Jaque said. “I met with my editorial staff after I decided to run and told them about my intentions and that I would take extra care to be at arm's length in anything to do with the campaign. I asked that they treat me as they would any candidate. I am not taking out any advertising in the newspaper that is larger or more frequent than my opponents. So far they have used one quarter page ad per issue, so that is what I am doing as well. Neither Lou or Michael have suggested to me that I might use the newspaper to advantage, nor have I heard that from anyone else in Fort Smith.”
Sebert, a Fort Smith lawyer, teacher and municipal politician, agreed with Jaque and said that he doesn't view Jaque's role at the newspaper as a conflict or a problem.
Both Sebert and Jaque said that it is time for a fresh face from the Thebacha riding.
Miltenberger is running for a sixth consecutive term having first been elected in 1995.
“Where he is not so good is working at the constituency level. He does not come up with creative ideas and has no vision of the future for the community,” Jaque said of Miltenberger.
Sebert said that it is time to look at the issues through new eyes. He also said that he would be more transparent and accountable if elected.
“Committee meetings which are closed by default should be open by default,” Sebert said. Jaque and Sebert both said they also want to see Aurora College's Thebacha campus in Fort Smith reinvigorated.
Miltenberger said he is running on his political record.
“You can't buy experience, you can't borrow it, you can't learn it. You have to earn it and I've got 20 years as an MLA learning the craft and my profession, 14 as a minister doing the same thing at a time when that kind of experience is very valuable as we move into the first assembly post-devolution.” Miltenberger said. He added that he does not believe that his constituents have suffered because of his busy cabinet schedule.
“In 20 years I have helped hundreds and hundreds of constituents. I have one of the best constituency assistants and we provide very good service. I have many satisfied constituents.” Miltenberger said.