PhotoOfMe.jpg
 

About Richard

rooted and progressive

In Brief:​

  • Camrose Raised

  • Father & Husband

  • Métis

  • Farmer

  • Small Business Owner

  • BSc (Physics & Math)

  • MA (International Affairs)

  • Former Canadian Diplomat

  • Speaks 4 languages

  • Passionate for social justice

Camrose Raised

I grew up in Camrose, attending school at Chester Ronning, Charlie Killam, and Camrose Composite High, and completing my B.Sc. at Augustana. My mom Sharon worked with homecare, and my dad John was pastor at First Baptist Church before teaching at Gardner College. Camrose has always been the place I feel most at home – a connection that emboldens me toward a vision for its future.


Farmer & Business Owner

I now live with my wife, Kierstin Heiberg, and our daughter on our farm near Kingman, the Heiberg family beef cattle operation of about 175 cow-calf pairs. I am also co-owner of the Fox & Fable Book & Game Café in Downtown Camrose, now on Main Street and in our fourth year of operation. As a farmer and a small business owner, I understand many of the challenges these sectors face and ways in which the government could play a more supportive role.

Member of the Métis Nation of Alberta

Through my mom’s side of the family, I am proud to be Métis and I have been a member of the Métis Nation of Alberta for several years. I am very excited to continue my mom’s work to reconnect with her family history, and to be part of ongoing efforts toward new Métis relationships with federal and provincial governments.


International Experience

My years between Augustana and farming were an adventure that brought me new understanding of Canada and the broader world. I worked with several communities in Alberta and Saskatchewan (including several First Nations), and across Latin America through an organization called Canada World Youth, focused on global education and community development. I then completed an MA in International Affairs in Ottawa, and joined the Canadian Foreign Service. I served as a diplomat in Afghanistan, New York, Vienna, and the Palestinian Territories (West Bank & Gaza), before coming home to Alberta to help my wife take over the farm in 2014.


Unique Background and Skillset

So yes, I’m a farmer who speaks four languages, a café owner with an MA, a local boy who has lived in eight countries. It’s an unconventional mix that has helped me to find deep empathy with diverse people, to hold my truths lightly, and to better see our common struggle for social justice.


Community Involvement

I am delighted to be involved in the vibrant cultural and business community of Camrose and surrounding area. For example, I volunteered for several years with the Nordlys Film and Arts Festival, and I currently serve as Treasurer for the Downtown Camrose business development association.  I've taught as a sessional instructor at the U of A Augustana Campus in Sociology and Political Studies. Through our efforts at the Fox & Fable, I am working hard to make Camrose a welcoming place for all, to create a safe space for organizing and learning, and to support our LGBTQ2S+ and Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) communities to empower voices and confront prejudice. I have a lot to learn, and my approach to being an MLA will be one of servant leadership and listening to you, the constituents.

For fun, I love the outdoors - camping, hiking, canoeing, mountain biking, x-country skiing. I enjoy great food from around the world, and a good conversation over coffee. I love playing music (and have been part of several bands over the years), and I'm learning Arabic calligraphy.  I love seeing my daughter grow, and meeting new friends!

 

Canoeing on the North Saskatchewan, 2021

Canoeing on the North Saskatchewan