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It's a sad day for constituents of Agassiz and the surrounding area just west of Portage la Prairie, as well as ministers in the government of Manitoba, after hearing the news of former MLA Stu Briese's passing Wednesday.

Portage la Prairie MLA Ian Wishart says Briese's time as MLA over the Agassiz constituency included Gladstone, Neepawa and Minnedosa, as well as the town of MacGregor.

"So, we're all very saddened to hear the passing of a wonderful old gentleman. I know I served with Stu in the Legislature, and I had considerable respect for him, and many times went for advice on things. He had so much experience, and much of it, of course, in municipal politics where he was president for the AMM (Association of Manitoba Municipalities) for at least two different occasions. So, he had a lot of background."

He adds Briese was known for helping sort out what was required for municipal politics, the funding involved, and giving them freedom to manage their own affairs. Wishart says when he was critic of Family Services, he used to consult Briese, seeing as he had a very good understanding of the program.

He was critic on infrastructure most of the time with government in opposition, and held their feet to the fire on that issue. Wishart says Briese likely knew every bridge, railway and road in the province from having been on them. He notes he understood what needed to be done, in may times, far better than the then-current minister did.

He adds Briese would contact him over something he felt was done well, and always stayed in touch with provincial politics since his retirement.

Stu Briese was elected as a Progressive Conservative MLA to the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba in 2007.

Briese's experiences include:

20 years on council for Rural Municipality of Langford
Director of the Association of Manitoba Municipalities
President of the Association of Manitoba Municipalities
Vice-president of the Association of Manitoba Municipalities
Three years on the board for the Federation of Canadian Municipalities
Re-elected in the 2011 provincial election for the newly-created electoral division of Agassiz
Recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for outstanding contribution to municipal government in Manitoba.

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