SPRINGHILL – Oxford’s Tory Rushton will carry the Progressive Conservative banner into the upcoming Cumberland South byelection, and he hopes the byelection is called soon.
After thanking the close to 300 people who turned out at the nomination meeting at Springhill High School, Rushton said, “Stephen McNeil, call this by-election. Get our MLA in that seat where we belong.”
Rushton was nominated on the first ballot. The three other nominees were Oralee O'Byrne, Maxwell Ross, and Marchel Strong.
After being named the candidate, Rushton said he has enjoyed meeting the people of Cumberland South since announcing his candidacy at the beginning of February.
“It has been a great experience talking to all the Cumberland South people,” said Rushton. “The support has been phenomenal, and I’m looking forward to getting out and talking to everybody in Cumberland South.”
It’s been speculated the byelection will be called sometime in May or June.
The riding of Cumberland South was vacated after Jamie Baillie resigned amid allegations of inappropriate behavior.
Who is Tory Rushton? He makes onion rings.
Before ballots were cast, each candidate talked about their concerns, and what they brought to the table.
Rushton talked about graduating from Oxford High School, going into an electrician apprenticeship the day after graduation, and then, instead of traveling out west, getting hired at Oxford Frozen Foods.
“Following my apprenticeship completion, I received a promotion at Oxford Frozen Foods, and I’m currently the production manager at the batter facility. I make onion rings.”
Those four words, ‘I make onion rings,’ drew loud applause from the crowd.
“There are many people from the plant that I work with here today, and we can attest we make darn good onion rings,” added Rushton.
Rushton said the leadership skills he’s developed at Oxford Frozen Foods has helped him as the chief of the Oxford Fire Department.
“Ever since 20-years-ago when I joined the fire department I took and utilized every bit of training I could access,” said Rushton.
Rushton is a graduate from the Dalhousie Fire Service University, he’s been the chief of the Oxford Fire Department for 12 years, and the deputy chief five years prior to becoming chief.
He was active in the construction in the new fire department building, and is also the first vice-president of the Maritime Fire Chief’s Association, and second vice-president of the Nova Scotia Fire Service Association.
“The experience I’ve gained in the public service and my leadership and management role at Oxford Frozen Foods helped me make a very strong and sound decision to seek this nomination,” said Rushton.
Rushton’s family has political roots in Cumberland County. His grandfather, George Henley, was the MLA in the former riding of Cumberland West from 1963 to 1984.
“Something my grandfather George did teach me was, politics is about the people, and it truly is. If you can touch the people and win their hearts you are a good politician,” said Rusthton. “By being in the public service for the last 20 years, I know the importance of customer service but it goes much deeper than that; you truly have to care, you have to prove it, and you have to show it.”
Rushton has three children, including two young boys who play hockey.
“Ever since we started playing this year, this one player, and it happens to be a goalie, often says a quote, ‘A shot not taken is a goal opportunity lost,’” said Rushton. “I’m willing to take those shots for Cumberland South and take those shots for you.”