MEDICINE HAT, AB — Len Mitzel, who served as Member of the Legislative Assembly for Cypress-Medicine Hat, passed away on Sunday. He was 71 years old.
The Etzikom native served as MLA with the Progressive Conservative Party from 2004-2012.
“He was a decent, honourable, honest, caring person,” said Lorne Taylor, former MLA for the PC Party for Cypress-Medicine Hat from 1993-2004.
Mitzel served as president of the Cypress-Medicine Hat constituency association for the party, and prior to his career in provincial politics, served for 15 years as a councillor and reeve with the County of 40 Mile.
Mitzel replaced Taylor as MLA in the 2004 election after Taylor decided to not run again. Taylor called Mitzel a strong representative for the region.
“I will say he was a very good representative for the rural community as well, because the rural community is small, and sometimes it gets forgotten,” he said. “Len knew the issues in both the rural and urban community, and that made him an excellent representative for Cypress-Medicine Hat.”
According to Taylor, Mitzel had been battling cancer at the time of his death. The two last saw each other in January.
Mayor Ted Clugston first met Mitzel when he was elected to Medicine Hat City Council in 2007, and described him as a “great man.”
“He was a gentle giant in some ways,” he said. “He was soft-spoken, but when he was in a room, and when he spoke, people listened.
“He could take control, take charge, and his experience and wisdom always showed through.”
Clugston says Mitzel was instrumental in helping ensure the overpass at Dunmore Road was approved by Ray Danyluk, the Minister of Transportation at the time.
“I have to really thank Len’s involvement in that,” he said. “That project got pushed, and it was actually a very successful project.”
During his time in office, Mitzel advocated for a 24-hour border crossing at Wild Horse and supported the Canadian Centre for Unmanned Vehicle Systems. Heserved on the Alberta Rail Crossing Study and the Health Facilities Review Committee, and also served as Deputy Speaker of the Legislature.
Mitzel received the Alberta Centennial Award in 2005 and the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002. Along with his wife June, Mitzel also helped establish the Etizkom Museum and Historic Windmill Centre.
Mitzel and his wife had two children.
Information about funeral arrangements was not immediately known.
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