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Another Miltenberger for MLA

Paul Bickford
Northern News Services
Monday, June 11, 2007

HAY RIVER - A prominent businessman with a familiar political name in the NWT plans to be a candidate in the territorial election this fall.

Marc Miltenberger - the younger brother of Thebacha MLA Michael Miltenberger - is running in Hay River South.

"The sentiment for change is definitely there," he said, noting current MLA Jane Groenewegen has represented the district for 12 years.

However, whether he will face Groenewegen at the polls remains to be seen.

She said she hasn't made any announcement of her plans, noting it is very early in the process and not time to talk about elections right now.

"I'm still in the throes of doing my job as an MLA," she said. "I really want to stay focused on that."

Miltenberger said he has always had political aspirations.

"What has kept my interest up is I've been afforded a unique perspective of the workings of the political world in the Northwest Territories through my relationship with my brother," he said.

Miltenberger said his family name often comes up when talking to potential supporters.

"It's a definite benefit, I believe," he said. "An ally in the political arena is always beneficial, especially coming from a smaller community."

However, he does not want to be confused with his brother.

"This is the Miltenberger that calls Hay River home" he said of himself. "There is that distinction. I stand on my own."

His only previous elected experience was a year and a half as a councillor in Fort Simpson.

"I'm jumping into the deep end of the political pool," he said. "Just thank God I've had swimming lessons."

Miltenberger said the time is right to run because both his children are heading south for school. In addition, he is stepping back from his roles as a partner in the fuel distribution firm Midnight Petroleum, as a hockey coach and as an auxiliary constable with the RCMP.

The 44-year-old said he would like to re-establish the core values and principles of governance - that a politician must work for the community and the betterment of the people.

Born in Yellowknife, he has lived in several NWT communities, including the past 11 years in Hay River. In addition, he spent four years in the community in the early 1980s.

Michael Miltenberger wishes his brother every success in his foray into politics.

"My basic advice to him was stake out the high ground, stay on it and run hard," he said.

Michael Miltenberger, who has been an MLA for 12 years and plans to seek re-election, can't recall other siblings running for the legislature during that time.

Despite having the same last name, he said no one will confuse him and his brother, noting Marc has built a name for himself in Hay River.