Former Mulgrave mayor running for NDP

MULGRAVE: A former Mulgrave mayor who ran for the New Democratic Party (NDP) in the 2011 federal election is once again stocking up on orange lawn signs, buttons and pamphlets.

Marney Simmons was acclaimed as the Guysborough-Eastern Shore-Tracadie NDP candidate on April 21 at a nomination meeting that took place at the Upper Big Tracadie Community Hall. Simmons was joined at the event by Stewiacke Mayor Wendy Robinson, who ran federally for the NDP in 2015, and the party’s provincial leader, Gary Burrill.

“With Gary leading the party, I have never been more proud to belong to the NDP and to be living in this province,” Simmons told The Reporter, adding that Burrill “stands an excellent chance” of becoming the province’s next premier.

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“Gary is a master orator and an experienced listener – he is sincere, humble, down-to-earth, kind and thoughtful… He is the type of man who will always remember who put him in office. Gary cares about the people of this province and he aims to prove it.”

Simmons, who served as Mulgrave’s mayor from 2008-12 and ran for the NDP in the federal riding of Cape Breton-Canso six years ago, said she felt the time was right to consider a provincial run.

“I was approached by several members of the party to consider the nomination,” she recalled. “After giving the offer some thought, the idea felt so right that I wanted to accept.”

Simmons has also received advice from the riding’s most recent NDP MLA, Jim Boudreau, as well as previous provincial NDP cabinet ministers that the former Mulgrave mayor counts among her friends.

“The NDP is well-populated by people who are helpful and kind,” she noted.

As with her previous experience as a candidate for Cape Breton-Canso, Simmons is gearing up for a busy four weeks of touring her provincial riding, which includes the entirety of Guysborough County, portions of Antigonish County between Monastery and Auld’s Cove, and communities in southeastern Halifax County.

“The important factors to have in place in a riding as large as Guysborough-Eastern Shore-Tracadie are a detailed map, a large calendar on which to write, and the ability to formulate a workable plan and stick to it,” Simmons suggested.

“The ability to hear everyone in the constituency is important.”

Asked for her key concerns as the campaign gets underway, Simmons pointed to the incumbent Liberal government’s approach to funding education and health care and “how children and seniors have suffered” as a result of these actions.

“In a province so rich in resources there is far too much poverty,” Simmons declared.

“I am a proponent of an Environmental Bill of Rights, restoration of the [Nova Scotia] Film [Industry] Tax Credit so that films such as Maudie can be filmed in Nova Scotia rather than Newfoundland, and I believe in adapting existing rural schools to be hubs for many other activities.”

Simmons will challenge Liberal incumbent Lloyd Hines and PC candidate Rob Wolf in Guysborough-Eastern Shore-Tracadie when the provincial election takes place on Tuesday, May 30.