Henderson a new name on the bal­lot

The Amherst News - - CUMBERLAND COUNTY - BY DAR­RELL COLE dar­[email protected]­st­news.ca Twit­ter: @ADN­dar­rell

Lib­er­als in Cum­ber­land-Colch­ester have a can­di­date seek­ing to re­place Bill Casey.

Lawyer Joel Henderson of Truro, who worked sev­eral years as Casey’s as­sis­tant, an­nounced he will be seek­ing the party’s nom­i­na­tion when it holds a meet­ing to select a can­di­date some­time in the next sev­eral months.

“I’ve fol­lowed pol­i­tics for a long time and I’ve had the hon­our of vol­un­teer­ing and work­ing with Bill. I learned so much about how he works and the pas­sion he has for the peo­ple of the rid­ing. I want to con­tinue that, work­ing for all our com­mu­ni­ties and peo­ple,” Henderson said. “I feel I’ve learned too much to let it go to waste.”

Casey, who was first elected as a Pro­gres­sive Con­ser­va­tive in 1988 and re­turned to pol­i­tics as a Lib­eral in 2015 af­ter re­tir­ing six years ear­lier, an­nounced in Septem­ber he would not be re­of­fer­ing next Oc­to­ber when the Lib­eral gov­ern­ment of Justin Trudeau goes back to the polls to seek a sec­ond man­date.

Henderson said the rid­ing needs a strong ad­vo­cate in Ot­tawa. Oth­er­wise, he fears, it could be for­got­ten or taken for granted. He knows re­plac­ing Casey will be daunt­ing but he’s up to the chal­lenge.

“They will be big shoes to fill, but I can proudly say I’ve worked with Bill and learned a lot from Bill and I know that Bill will sup­port who­ever wins the Lib­eral nom­i­na­tion,” Henderson said. “I love to per­son­ally con­nect with peo­ple about their con­cerns and prob­lems and to help them find so­lu­tions. I learned that from Bill, who was among the best at mak­ing those con­nec­tions.”

Born and raised in Truro, Henderson has roots all around Colch­ester County. The 37-year-old prac­tices law. He served as chief of staff to Casey for three years and learned how to nav­i­gate the some­times tricky fed­eral sys­tem to help con­stituents.

Henderson also worked with Casey, who chairs the fed­eral health com­mit­tee, in the study of a na­tional phar­ma­care pro­gram and said if he’s elected he will focus on lo­cal pri­or­i­ties across the rid­ing in­clud­ing In­ter­net ser­vice, skills train­ing and re­tire­ment in­come se­cu­rity.

“From tourism to trans­porta­tion, food to forestry, this place mat­ters and I want Ot­tawa to re­mem­ber that,” Henderson said. “I want to do the best I can to main­tain the level of com­mit­ment Bill has given to his peo­ple in the rid­ing. He of­ten told me if you stand be­hind your peo­ple they’ll stand be­hind you and I think he’s right.”

Cum­ber­land-Colch­ester has so much po­ten­tial and Henderson said it’s im­per­a­tive to con­tinue build­ing on that progress – some­thing he wants to do as the MP.

A date has yet to be set for a nom­i­nat­ing meet­ing and it’s un­known if there are other can­di­dates. Henderson said he would wel­come a con­tested nom­i­na­tion.

If Henderson wins the nom­i­na­tion he will face for­mer MP Scott Arm­strong, who has al­ready se­cured the Con­ser­va­tive nom­i­na­tion. It was Arm­strong who Casey de­feated in 2015.

“I think the gov­ern­ment has been do­ing a lot of great things for reg­u­lar and work­ing peo­ple and for fam­i­lies in Cum­ber­land-Colch­ester and that’s go­ing to help us,” Henderson said. “Who­ever wins the nom­i­na­tion is go­ing to have a pos­i­tive story to tell. If it’s me, I know it will be a chal­lenge but I look for­ward to it. I’m go­ing to go out there and do the best I can.”

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