Mixing love and politics in Heart’s Desire
Couples outnumber individual candidates for council
When the elections are over on Sept. 24 at least one married couple will sit on the Heart’s Desire town council , but three have signed up for the challenge.
Incumbent Coun. Colleen Murphy and newcomer Patrick Murphy — Colleen’s husband — are hoping to sit on council together this term.
Two other couples, newcomers Mary ( Jackie) Lahey and Shawn Lahey, as well as James Jackson and Sonya Lee are also hoping to get that chance.
It is possible all six will make it to the council chamber, which might be a first for Newfoundland and Labrador, but with only nine on the ballot and seven seats available, the question isn’t if, but which and how many couples will be successful in their bid.
This is not the first time a couple has sat on council together in the town. In fact, two outgoing councillors — Connie and Alphonsus St. George — are married. The two are not seeking re-election.
Also not returning to the ballot are Deputy Mayor Faye St. George and Jude St. George.
Former mayor Patrick Coombs will be seeking re-election as well. He has not decided if he would take the mayor’s position again if he were offered it.
Coombs, who is the oldest member of council at 66, stepped away from the position in 2010 due to health concerns after eight years as mayor. He remained on council.
Francis St. George replaced Coombs for the last three years. He is also seeking re-election.
Coombs told The Compass that there have not been many elections in the town since it was incorporated in the 1960s, including last year when the seven incumbents were acclaimed.
“I’m tickled to death,” Coombs said of the number of candidates. “Most of the other (candidates) are younger and that is what we were looking for.”
Another newcomer, Elizabeth (Diane) Langer has also thrown her hat in the ring for a position on council, which Coombs is excited about.
“People say everyone should experience being on a town council for at least a year to fully understand what it is the town does,” Coombs concluded, noting Heart’s Desire is definitely seeing an influx in interest.