While the governing party of Manitoba may have changed during the 43rd Provincial Election, Portage's affiliation stayed the same. Electing Progressive Conservative (PC) Jeff Bereza for the vacant MLA seat given up by former PC Ian Wishart.

Bereza told PortageOnline he looks forward to having the honour of representing everyone in the constituency.

"I just want to thank everybody first of all that voted, thank you for voting and for all those that voted for me to be elected. Thank you so much."

The work that Wishart left behind will be remembered, according to Bereza. 

"I look forward to following through with a lot of the projects that Ian (Wishart) started, like the Portage Hospital is one of the new Regional Hospitals, the West End bypass is another one. And I know Ian has worked hard for agriculture, and again, that's going to be one of my focuses."

When questioned about the policy he looks to implement, Bereza laughed, noting it may be a little early, but he wants to make sure that everyone in his riding is cared for 

"I've always said is constituency first. I'm going to listen to the people of Portage la Prairie," he continues. "I want to hear what is most important for Portage la Prairie. I've heard on the trail the issues about healthcare. I've heard about the issues with crime. We want to make sure that we do address those things. But I think we want to look at the root causes that are going on there as well." 

Bereza added that he may only get to sleep after sunrise as the thrill of the election still runs through him.  

"You know what? I think I may start by starting to take a few signs down," smiled the new Portage MLA when talking about his plans for the rest of his night following his election party at the Portage Legion Branch #65. 

As of 11:55 a.m, Tuesday, 27/30, polling stations in Portage had close, with Bereza having received just under 60 per cent of the vote compared to the NDP's Accacia Weselake, who had just under 30 per cent of the counted votes. Arishya Aggarwal of the Green Party had around 5 per cent of the vote.

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