OTTAWA – 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 back in September that 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 has three thirds and 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 I 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 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.”