May 26, 2017
Winnipeg, MB – As the annual Pride Festival begins in Winnipeg, Manitoba’s first openly gay MLA, former NDP MLA for Assiniboia Jim Rondeau, announced today his endorsement of Wab Kinew for leader of the Manitoba NDP.
“I put my name forward to run for public office because I felt a passion to make life better for everyone, and particularly for LGBTTQ* youth, wondering whether they could aspire to serve and represent their communities as an openly gay person. The answer is, yes they can,” said Rondeau. “When I hear Wab speak, I can see that he feels the same fire I feel for public service, and believes in the ability of government to make a real difference in the lives of those who need it most. I’m proud to support him for Leader of the Manitoba NDP.”
“Jim is a powerful advocate, a real trailblazer as the first openly gay MLA,” said Kinew. “I will do everything I can to win this leadership race, and the election that follows it, to ensure that his accomplishments, and those of the larger LGBTTQ* community, continue to move forward as part of the progressive vision that he and I share.”
Rondeau was first elected in 1999 after earning his undergraduate degree in Education from the University of Manitoba and serving as a distinguished educator throughout Manitoba. After being re-elected in 2002, he was appointed Minister of Healthy Living, and went on to introduce legislation banning smoking in public indoor places and workplaces. He continued in Cabinet with various portfolios, serving as Minister for Seniors, Industry, Economic Development, Science, Technology, Energy and Mines.
Rondeau was the first openly gay MLA to serve in Manitoba. His groundbreaking approach to public service included chairing a committee of government that considered legislation that would extend the right to marriage for same-sex couples in Manitoba.