He's been out of politics for nearly two decades, but former minister Rick Orman is now looking to become the next premier of Alberta.

"My candidacy in this race is a call to action. It's time for Albertans who believe in our party to act," he said.

The move comes 18 years after losing a similar bid to Ralph Klein, where he finished third.

Orman now tells supporters the party has strayed from its roots and says health care reform is high on his list of priorities.

"There are areas that could be privatized or you could bring in a partnership with the private sector and take the pressure off the system," he said.

He hasn't had a seat in the legislature since 1993. But one political expert believes Orman's absence has an advantage, because he is not linked to unpopular decisions made by the current leadership.

"He has kind of a reformist approach. He wants to do things differently, so I think that will set him apart from the other candidates," said Chaldeans Mensah with MacEwan University.

Orman acknowledges the Tories are worried about the fledgling Wildrose Alliance.

"The fact is this party is threatened and at no time in the party's history has it faced such a serious challenge from another party on the right," he said.

Orman joins an already crowded race that includes former ministers Gary Mar, Doug Horner, Alison Redford, Ted Morton, and MLA Doug Griffiths.

With files from Scott Roberts