‘We’re go­ing to miss her’

Ac­co­lades flow for Foote as she de­cides to put pol­i­tics aside for fam­ily

The Southern Gazette - - NEWS - BY PAUL HERRIDGE THE SOUTH­ERN GAZETTE pher­ridge@south­erngazette.ca

Any­one who knows pol­i­tics at any level un­der­stands the de­mands, Grand Bank Mayor Rex Matthews said Fri­day.

Matthews was talk­ing with The South­ern Gazette about Bon­av­ista-Burin-Trin­ity MP Judy Foote’s an­nounce­ment on Thurs­day she end­ing her po­lit­i­cal ca­reer.

“We’re go­ing to miss her. We’re re­ally go­ing to miss Judy. There’s no doubt about that,” he said.

Matthews called Foote a sin­cere per­son who was in tune with what was hap­pen­ing in the towns in her dis­trict.

He said she dealt with peo­ple with re­spect, dig­nity and grace. In his ex­pe­ri­ence, Matthews said she was never too busy to have a chat on the phone or drop by the town hall if she was in the area.

A call to Foote’s of­fice would al­ways be re­turned with a re­sponse by the end of the day, he said.

“It’s a sad day, not only for Grand Bank but for all the dis­trict,” Matthews said.

“Judy has been a very hard work­ing mem­ber of the fed­eral gov­ern­ment. She had a lot of author­ity within the fed­eral gov­ern­ment. Judy worked very, very hard, not only for her dis­trict but for her prov­ince and coun­try.”

Most re­cently, Foote has been in­flu­en­tial in the project to re­de­velop Grand Bank’s down­town and wa­ter­front area.

“She wanted to see some­thing done with the re­de­vel­op­ment of our com­mu­nity and she put her heart and soul into that par­tic­u­lar project,” Matthews said.

Other pol­i­tics in the prov­ince also chimed in with com­ments about Foote’s de­ci­sion, two in par­tic­u­lar with close ties to her.

Burin-Grand Bank MHA Carol Anne Ha­ley and Pla­cen­tia West-Belle­vue MHA Mark Browne both worked in Foote’s con­stituency of­fice dur­ing her time in fed­eral pol­i­tics and could be con­sid­ered pro­tégés.

In a state­ment Thurs­day, Ha­ley said Foote should be proud of the work she has done in her po­lit­i­cal ca­reer.

“I have known Judy for many years and con­sider her to be a very close friend,” Ha­ley said.

“It was largely be­cause of her sup­port and guid­ance that I made the de­ci­sion to of­fer my­self for public of­fice. As her spe­cial as­sis­tant for nearly eight years, I have wit­nessed first hand the drive and pas­sion she has for the job and the peo­ple she was elected to rep­re­sent. I couldn’t have asked for a bet­ter role model or men­tor.”

Browne also said he had learned many lessons from Foote.

“Our prov­ince has had the great for­tune of hav­ing the ex­pe­ri­ence and in­tegrity of Judy Foote in both pro­vin­cial and fed­eral gov­ern­ments for well over two decades,” he said in a state­ment.

“She has al­ways kept the peo­ple’s in­ter­ests at heart and with­out a doubt has been our strong­est rep­re­sen­ta­tive in Ot­tawa in his­tory.”

Premier Dwight Ball also of­fered a state­ment re­flect­ing on Foote’s con­tri­bu­tions.

“(Foote) has been a cham­pion for our prov­ince and we thank her for her tire­less ded­i­ca­tion to the peo­ple of New­found­land and Labrador,” he said.

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