EDMONTON - Former Alberta cabinet minister Gary Mar says the province needs a government that anticipates challenges rather than reacts to them.

That's one of the reasons he's giving for running to become Alberta premier and leader of the Progressive Conservative party.

Mar, who is 48, confirmed his candidacy on a radio talk show in Calgary.

Mar resigned Monday as Alberta's envoy to Washington, D.C., where he has been promoting the oilsands and the province's economy.

A lawyer by profession, Mar served as minister of health, education, environment and community development under former premier Ralph Klein.

Mar, who is from Calgary, is considered to be a political moderate and his announcement brings to five the number of declared candidates seeking to replace Premier Ed Stelmach.

The others are Ted Morton, Doug Horner, Doug Griffiths and Alison Redford.