Profile: Loren Braul - Liberal - Borderland

Loren Braul is representing the Liberal Party of Manitoba as he runs for office in Borderland. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Winkler Times)

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Loren Braul is representing the Liberal Party of Manitoba as he runs for office in Borderland. A resident of Altbergthal (near Altona), Braul and his wife Lori Dueck have two children, Simon (5) and Rosie (2).

A partner at Gilmour & Braul Law Office, he serves clients across southern Manitoba through his offices in Altona and Winkler. He also serves as chair of Regional Connections, Vice-President of the Altona Community Foundation, and moderator of the Altona Mennonite Church.

Braul first ran in the 2016 election. He said watching other candidates come forward also helped make the decision. “There was some dissatisfaction with how the PC nomination went,” he said. “They had a strong local candidate from the Altona area, Jordan Siemens, and I think people were surprised when Josh (Guenter) won. He was certainly not well known in the party or in the community.”

Braul said after that nomination process people began to look to him to be “the face they recognized and a voice they trusted to give that local angle on issues.”

When Cliff Graydon put his name forward as an independent candidate, Braul knew it was time to run. “Now we have an election that’s not just about party branding, but it’s also about the person,” he said. “People have to consider, do we want Cliff Graydon the incumbent we had before but without that blue jacket of the party, or do we want another blue jacket, or do we want this other person that we know and trust from the community.”

While Borderland (formally Emerson) has a long history of voting PC, Braul said that can change. “I think the opportunity is the strongest now that it’s been for a long time,” he said.

Braul said being aligned with a party has benefits. “As an independent if elected, I would only get my own constituency office budget,” he said, noting the Manitoba Liberal Party would have more funds available. “We’re better equipped to doing the work of understanding legislation, communicating to our constituents and bringing their concerns back.”

Because the parties negotiate the rules of engagement for the legislature Braul said he would be able to better represent his constituents.

Working closely with municipalities is important for Braul and he said a review of how taxes are collected is important. “Besides getting grants for a few projects from the various levels of government, municipalities rely on property taxes to meet their budget,” he said. “With the rapidly changing values of some land but not other, farmland vs. residential for example, that tool isn’t working as well as it used to.”

Braul said the PC government cancelled the bridges and roads program one year and then brought back a different version, making it difficult for municipalities to plan. “They need to know what they can do and when they can do it so they can make a plan,” he said.

Braul said he’s ready for the role. “As a lawyer, the analysis of legislation and how it affects us is something that I’m doing every day already,” he said. “I can start on day one and do that for our community…”

Braul said he’s invested in the community. “We need people who know how much work it is, so they can respect that work and take that seriously,” he said. “I think it’s important that we have someone that can stand up and speak well. We don’t just need people talking… and we don’t just need a body in a chair to vote.”

Finding common ground is important. “I’m very prepared to work with any party that’s in government,” he said. “I’m hopeful to have strong relationships with neighbouring MLAs because they’re going to share interests with what’s happening in the region.”

He asked people in Borderland to consider their representation carefully. “I understand that some people may have traditionally voted Conservative,” he said. “But Borderland has not historically been able to nominate people who’ve had key roles in government.”

“I’m hopeful that people think about the person that they’re voting for, think about the skill sets that person is offering and think about how we feel to have someone who can stand up and do something for the riding,” he added.

The Borderland constituency includes as candidates: Ken Henry – Green Party, Loren Braul – Liberal, Joshua Guenter – PC Party, Cliff Graydon – Independent and Liz Cronk – NDP. The election takes place Sept. 10.