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NL VOTES: Placentia West-Bellevue opts for change

PC candidate Jeff Dwyer defeated incumbent Liberal Mark Browne in the district of Placentia West-Bellevue by 766 votes.
PC candidate Jeff Dwyer defeated incumbent Liberal Mark Browne in the district of Placentia West-Bellevue by 766 votes. - Contributed

Liberal Mark Browne ousted in favour of PC candidate Jeff Dwyer

MARYSTOWN, N.L. —

Jeff Dwyer sees the new reality of a minority government in Newfoundland and Labrador as something that can benefit the province, given everyone will have to come together.

“In his economy, I guess it’s probably better to have to work together because then a little bit more can probably get done,” Dwyer, who won his bid to represent Placentia West-Bellevue for the Progressive Conservatives on Thursday night, May 16, told The Southern Gazette the following morning.

Dwyer defeated incumbent Mark Browne of the Liberals, who was first elected four years ago at the age of 22, making him the youngest MHA in the province’s history. Browne picked up nearly 64 per cent of the vote in 2015. This time he managed only 43.6 per cent. Dwyer polled 3,381 votes to Browne’s 2,615.

Dwyer said he wasn’t totally surprised with his win, saying he thought his message on the campaign trail resonated with people.

“I ran my campaign based on me and I didn’t watch any polls,” he said. “I didn’t pay attention to the other campaign. I didn’t watch the news unless it had to do with my leader. I just ran my own campaign and I made sure my team ran a campaign on honesty and integrity.”

Dwyer said he felt voters in Placentia West-Bellevue were looking for someone with experience and confidence who wasn’t afraid to speak to them in both positive and negative lights.

“It’s not always easy and it’s not always a good news phone call, but I think they realized that I’m a communicator and I’d like to make sure that people are treated with respect and given the opportunity to speak with their MHA,” he said.

Dwyer wasn’t sitting on his laurels after the win and told The Gazette he had already reached out to a couple people he spoke to on the campaign trail first thing Friday morning to get the ball rolling on a few initiatives.

“There’s no time like the present and I’m here to work for my four years,” he said.

Fresh off an election might be a bit early to prognosticate his political future, but Dwyer told The Gazette he also plans to seek re-election when the time comes.

“(Running for political office is) something that I’ve always dreamed of doing and wanted to do, so I’m not going to squander it, and I’m in it for the right reasons to look after the constituents of Placentia West-Bellevue,” he said.

paul.herridge@southerngazette.ca

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