Former oil company PR staffer nabs NDP nomination in Ferryland

     A former public relations executive in government and the oil industry is the NDP candidate in Ferryland district.
     “These days I am finished with the oil industry and I am pursuing politics (full time),” said Mona Rossiter, 53. “I decided to get off the sidelines and put my name in the ring for the provincial government. That is my full time commitment now, to get elected in Ferryland district.”
     Rossiter is a volunteer with the East Coast Trail Association, and while she doesn’t live in the district, she noted her father is from Calvert and she owns a house there that she leases out as a vacation property.
     “I had a 30 year career in the public, private and not for profit sectors – most recently I spent 20 years in the oil industry,” Rossiter said, pointing out the last 10 of those were in “contract management.”
     Why is she running? “Where do I begin,” she said. “I really think we need a different kind of government in Newfoundland. I really think we need fairer, smarter, better government and I thought I have something to contribute because of that experience across those sectors, and I’m a woman – that’s another reason why. I think we actually need more women in politics at all levels.”
     Rossiter said she has a master’s degree in political science. Her studies included women in politics. “So I thought, if not me then who, and if not now then when?” she said. “It’s important for me now to take that step.”
     Asked if there are any issues important to her, Rossiter said that from talking with people in the district, quality of life issues seem to be their priority, including the economy, health care and child care. Infrastructure is also important for all the towns along the shore, she said. “People want to be sure that they can live in their communities and stay in their communities if they can,” she said.
     As to how the NDP can address those issues, Rossiter said the party has a people centred approach. “The priorities that an NDP government will focus on is different from the other parties, because we know that everyday people have to be the centre of our policymaking, we have to look at it through that lens – how does it affect your everyday quality of life, how does it affect your job employment, and how does it help you deal with things like health care and home care, child care and minimum wage,” she said. “That’s the difference, the priority difference will be how the NDP affects our ability as MHAs to deliver the goods to our people.”
Rossiter declined to offer a view on the biggest issues facing the next provincial government, namely Muskrat Falls and a looming annual deficit of some $2 billion a year - an accumulating debt that will erode Newfoundland’s ability to fund health care, education, road maintenance and other services.
     “You know what, those are questions you would be best to address to Earle McCurdy from a policy platform point of view,” Rossiter said. “But if we form a government we’re going to have to deal with whatever the economic circumstances are, but certainly the decisions that we make will have that different priority, different lens to make those decisions.”
     Rossiter said she has never run for office before, but has worked “around party issues and campaigns,” contributing money, canvassing at the doors and making phone calls. The one campaign she did work on was years ago as a student when she worked for Hubert Kitchen who was running for the Liberals in St. John’s.
     “So it’s going to be new to me, and I’ve got a good team of really capable women and men who are backing me to get me organized and supported,” Rossiter said. “Of course I’ll have to fundraise like everybody else, put my money together and my team together. But I think I have as good a chance as the other people who are running… It’s really hard with an incumbent but I think people really do want change, they want to see something different and they want to see their issues at the top of the agenda as opposed to add-ons or thought about after the fact.”
     Rossiter said she understands that Chris Molloy, the party’s 2011 candidate who wanted to run again this time, was treated fairly by the party. “He had some confusion about what he needed to do, but I don’t know the particulars of that,” she said. “But I feel comfortable it was a fair process.”
     Rossiter said that prior to filing her nomination papers she did have conversations with a number of people in the party, including McCurdy, to see what kind of candidate they were looking for and to discuss what she can offer. She is hoping the incident involving Molloy’s nomination papers will not affect support for her campaign.
     “I don’t think there was an incident, really,” she said. “I think the process was fair and I think people who support the NDP are going to look for a good candidate to get behind and I think I am that candidate, I think I can bring their issues to the House of Assembly and I think I have a good policy sense so that I am able to contribute on that level as well… I think there is strong NDP support on the Shore and I think I can mobilize that support behind me. We stand for all the same things, Chris and anybody else for the NDP… And my values align with the NDP so I think I’ll be a good candidate who can represent them.”

Posted on September 28, 2015 .