After much speculation, Todd Stone has formally announced his candidacy for the 2018 BC Liberal Leadership position.

The former Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure (MOTI) under Christy Clark believes the province is getting stronger with youth, hoping to create more job opportunities in big and rural communities for their future.

He says the Liberal party needs to also put families first.

“This also includes putting a focus on our youth through province-wide programming and supports to help them stay in school, and to be able to see a path forward to a great future. Many of our most vulnerable youth, they just don’t see this past forward, and that needs to change.”

The MLA for Kamloops-South Thompson adds his campaign also promises better access to childcare and spaces for struggling families.

At his announcement in Surrey on Tuesday, Stone also expressed his concern over lack of communication between the party and local residents.

“The last election clearly showed that far too many voters felt we didn’t speak for them, and frankly, in some cases, they were right. We lost sight of why a strong economy is so important; why all communities needed to see the benefits of that strong economy.”

He believes as being on the younger side of the political spectrum, he can make a connection with voters of all ages and in every region, including Northern BC.

Stone is the eighth person to enter the race for the Liberal’s top job; the election is slated for February.