EDITOR’S NOTE: Due to recent information provided to The Reporter, the on-line version of this story has been changed from the version published in the October 19 edition of The Reporter.
ARICHAT: Nothing in George Kehoe’s previous 22 years of school board service could prepare him for the “roller-coaster ride” that accompanied his latest Strait regional school board (SRSB) election victory.
Kehoe had lost his West Richmond seat in 2012 to Lian Parsons, who appeared to have repeated the feat in unofficial results released Saturday night, which had Parsons taking 1,080 votes to Kehoe’s 1,061.
After the official vote count took place Tuesday morning, Richmond County’s Chief Returning Officer Clair Rankin announced the results on election night had been “misreported,” leaving Kehoe with 1,150 votes and Parsons with 1,085.
“I’m quite happy about it, but I’m very surprised,” Kehoe told The Reporter shortly after learning of his victory. “I don’t know how to react right now – I’m in shock.”
A former chair of the SRSB who also served 14 months with the now-defunct Richmond district school board (RDSB) shortly after his retirement from teaching in 1994, Kehoe expressed sympathy to Parsons on the candidates’ sudden reversal of fortune.
“I feel bad for Lian, really, because this is a bad way to find out she lost,” said Kehoe. “I would like to congratulate Lian on a clean campaign, because neither one of us tried to discredit the other. I think that’s particularly important – we have too much of that today.”
The Rocky Bay resident said he “missed” his time on the SRSB following his 2012 election defeat and decided to run again in the hopes of restoring what he described as missing elements to Nova Scotia’s public school system.
“I think the educational system, in general, has changed direction – I think the pendulum has gone too far in favour of a laissez-faire mode, and we’ve got to get back to a little more standard [education],” Kehoe suggested.
The only other contested SRSB race took place in the Town of Antigonish, where former SRSB and Antigonish District School Board member Allan Armsworthy was defeated by first-time candidate Barbara Quirk.
Unofficial results from Saturday evening gave Quirk 958 votes to Armsworthy’s 907, in the race to fill the Antigonish seat vacated by Brian Murray after two terms in office.