© Andrew Wagstaff - The Citizen-Record
Advocate Harbour resident Susan Clarke, shown here with her dog Emma, is one of five candidates in the running for the District 10 seat on Cumberland County council in the upcoming Feb. 16 byelection to replace the late Ratchford Merriam, who passed away in November.
ADVOCATE HARBOUR - District 10 is Cumberland County’s largest geographic district, and few would be more familiar with it than Susan Clarke.
Clarke, who lives in Advocate Harbour, works seasonally in Parrsboro, and travels often the communities in between, is one of five candidates vying for the vacant seat on Cumberland County council in a byelection next month.
“I like working for people, and working with people,” said Clarke. “I like to think that I would be fair, and very proud to represent this area.”
The daughter of a military family, Clarke moved to this area at the age of 17, when her father chose to retire to farm in his home community of New Salem. She finished her final year of high school in Advocate, and took a community college course in accounting in Parrsboro the following year.
She went on to become involved with the Canadian Coast Guard, becoming district zone director and prevention officer with the coast guard auxiliary, later obtaining her captain’s papers and many other courses through the coast guard.
“I’m pretty well versed in that area, so I think I would be able to work with firemen and search and rescue teams nicely, because I understand what they’re faced with and the hours they put into it,” said Clarke. “I’m a strong believer and supporter of the volunteers in the area, because I really understand the amount of time it takes,” she continued. “If it wasn’t for the volunteers and not-for-profit organizations and small businesses, these communities would shrink even further. It’s what keeps them vibrant and alive and still here.”
It was that interest in her community and its history that led her to take a museum curator’s course, and become the manager of Ottawa House By-the-Sea Museum in Parrsboro, a position she has held for the past 18 years.
During her time at the museum, she has met people from all over the world, and worked with staff and volunteers from throughout the local region.
“I think I would be a fair person for all communities, just because I live in Advocate, and I’ve had so much exposure to other small communities upshore like the Two Islands and West Bay, because some of our volunteers are from there,” said Clarke.
As Ottawa House manager, she works closely with the Parrsborough Shore Historical Society board of directors, an experience she believes could help her work with the other nine members of county council.
District 10 voters will head to the polls on Feb. 16. Joining Clarke on the ballot will be fellow candidates Don Fletcher, John Melanson, Greg Morris and Oralee O’Byrne.