Jennifer McCreath submits nomination papers after withdrawing for lack of signatures
Jennifer McCreath. — Telegram file photo
A local woman has re-entered the St. John’s municipal election race after withdrawing because she had no one to nominate her.
Local activist Jennifer McCreath announced last week she didn’t have the required signatures for her nomination papers, but said Monday a “huge level of outreach” resulted from her announcement, with several people volunteering to nominate her.
McCreath signed her nomination papers Tuesday morning, announcing she is running for deputy mayor.
“I was very humbled and pleased with the amount of support and outcry when the story broke that I was having trouble finding nominators,” McCreath told The Telegram on Tuesday.
She said those who stepped forward included possible electoral rivals — including Ward 2 candidate Andrew Harvey and Ward 4 candidate Bernard Davis — who volunteered to nominate her even if it was possible she’d be running against them.
“It was great to see so many other candidates already on the ballot step up to the plate and say, ‘I’d be happy to nominate Jennifer McCreath,’ even though they didn’t even know at that point which position I was running for.”
Harvey said he offered to sign McCreath’s papers — although in the end he didn’t need to — because he wanted to see more women represented in the race.
“Up until today, there was only three women who were actually running,” he said Tuesday.
“I think that’s pretty terrible. I think it’d be great to have more women involved, so basically all weekend and yesterday I was going crazy, sending people messages to see if there’s any women who’d consider stepping forward to run.”
After hearing McCreath didn’t have the required signatures, he contacted her to help.
McCreath — who works in the RNC’s 911 call centre, answering 911 calls and working as dispatch — said she opted to run for deputy mayor because it’s time for a “drastic shakeup” at city hall.
“There’s a lot of people out there who never vote, because they don’t think politicians care about their issues. Unlike most other candidates and most other people in leadership roles in government, I kind of come from the working class. I kind of know what it’s like to deal with government red tape and struggle with social services.”
She also said St. John’s municipal government needs more women in politics, and greater representation of LGBT — lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender — people.
McCreath, a transgender lesbian herself, has done policy work for the Ontario government and came to St. John’s in 2007 to oversee an information privacy review program for the Newfoundland and Labrador government’s information technology department.
Her experience also includes volunteer and non-profit leadership work, and she has run 30 marathons.
Her government and private sector experience, along with her volunteerism and LGBT advocacy, makes her an ideal candidate for local government, she says.
“It seems tailor-made for someone like me to put my name forward as a possible candidate and bring an alternative,” said McCreath, who also said a factor in running for deputy mayor was so the position wouldn’t be acclaimed.
Until Tuesday, businessman Ron Ellsworth was the only official candidate.
“There’s two very diverse candidates seeking this seat, and I think it’s great. The public will have an opportunity to hear both of us talk about the issues and really have a chance to choose who they think would be best for this job.”
McCreath said improving access to low-cost housing, improving public transit and smart development will be among her key campaign issues.
Council Nominations Lits
The final list of candidates for the Sept. 24 municipal election for St. John’s city council has been announced. There are a total of 30 candidates vying for 11 positions. Nominations for the positions closed at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
The candidates running for each position are:
Ward 1 councillor:
Danny Breen - acclaimed
Ward 2 councillor:
Ward 3 councillor:
Sarah Colborne Penney
Ward 4 councillor:
Ward 5 councillor:
Councillor at large
(four positions open):