Expectations high for Littlejohn
Glenn Littlejohn is now busy cleaning out two offices, and preparing to settle into a new one as the newly elected Progressive Conservative MHA for Port de Grave.
Littlejohn will resign soon as the mayor of Bay Roberts, a post he has held for six years, and will also step away from his job as a recreation and sport consultant with the Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation.
It’s a transition he’s been waiting to make for four years, ever since he lost the 2007 election to Liberal Roland Butler by 260 votes.
On Oct. 11, the day of the 2011 provincial general election, Littlejohn accomplished what many felt was the inevitable - leading the PCs to victory in a district that had been held by the Liberals for the past quarter-century.
And this time it wasn’t even close, with Littlejohn wining by some 1,600 votes over his younger, less experienced Liberal opponent. There was a feeling throughout the district that the tide had turned and voters were ready to once again have a member on the government side of the House of Assembly.
But Littlejohn, still stung by how close he came four years ago, didn’t take anything for granted and headed a strong, high-octane campaign with droves of volunteers and what appears to be plenty of financial backing.
Littlejohn gave voters plenty of reasons to support him, including his many years as a volunteer, a stellar reputation, a polished and endearing personality, and his obvious enthusiasm and commitment to the region. And it didn’t hurt that he was carrying the colours of a party that has been warmly and wholeheartedly embraced by voters in this province since 2003, when Danny Williams led the PCs its first of three consecutive majority governments. But now comes the hard part. After eight years in opposition, there are plenty of expectations in Port de Grave, and Littlejohn will be judged closely on what he can deliver over the next four years.
Residents of Port de Grave have watched with envy in recent months as money from the government treasury has flooded into the neighbouring district of CarbonearHarbour Grace, a seat held by powerful cabinet minister Jerome Kennedy. Government largesse has included, among other things, a new long-term care facility and school for Carbonear, and a new arena for Harbour Grace.
In his victory speech, Littlejohn spoke of the need for an investment in road infrastructure, and that’s just one area of concern. There’s long been talk of the need for a new school in Bay Roberts, and the town is also looking for government funding to construct a new aquatic centre.
There’s little doubt that Littlejohn will work hard as an MHA, and his constituents are certainly hopeful his efforts will be rewarded.
Regardless, they’ll get a chance to give their evaluation when the next election rolls around in 2015.
Good luck, Glenn.
— Terry Roberts