Labrador West MHA Nick McGrath is supporting the only candidate who’s not a member of the current PC caucus in the party’s leadership race.
© Submitted photo
Labrador West MHA Nick McGrath is endorsing John Ottenheimer in the 2014 PC leadership race. McGrath believes Ottenheimer’s professional experience and his character makes him the best candidate.
McGrath, who is Minister of Transportation and Works and the minister responsible for Labrador and Aboriginal Affairs, believes that John Ottenheimer can bring a fresh perspective that can rejuvenate the government.
“I feel that bringing somebody in who’s outside of the caucus adds a new, fresh, light to the political ruling. But, having somebody who has the experience that Mr. Ottenheimer has, it’s certainly a strong asset,” said McGrath.
“I listen to the general public very closely, and one of the things that you hear from the general public, and after 11 years in power it’s very normal … it’s time for a change. “
Ottenheimer is running against Steve Kent, MHA for Mount Pearl North, and Paul Davis, MHA for Topsail. Whoever wins the leadership race, which will be decided at the leadership convention in September, will be the province’s next premier.
Although Ottenheimer isn’t a current member of government, he is still an experienced politician. Between 1996 and 2007, he served as PC MHA for St. John’s East and also spent time in the cabinet between 2003 and 2007.
Before entering politics, Ottenheimer was a high school teacher and a lawyer. His professional experience inside and outside politics is what McGrath finds appealing.
“I looked at all three candidates, it wasn’t a decision that I made lightly … I feel that Mr. Ottenheimer, certainly, is the most experienced,” said McGrath.
“With the amount of time that he has been out of the political limelight, I feel he can come back in now. He’s always stayed very close to the political field; he’s always been involved and kept himself informed. And I think he can come back now as an experienced, seasoned politician with some good, new, bright ideas that can bring this party and this province into the future.”
McGrath first got to know Ottenheimer before either of them became involved in provincial politics. The Labrador MHA believes Ottenheimer’s character is his strongest asset.
“He’s also had a stint in the Opposition. So he understands every aspect of government. And, I think, to be a leader, that’s very important. But the most important aspect that swayed me, because we have three very credible candidates …is his character.”
“I’ve known him for many, many years. I knew him long before I was in politics and I knew him before he was in politics. I think he’s a well-rounded individual; he’s highly respected throughout the whole province … his character makes you feel secure and comforted when you’re in his presence.”