Shawn Skinner loses seat to NDP

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Gerry Rogers becomes first openly gay MHA in the province

NDP candidate Gerry Rogers wins in St. John's Centre. — Photo by Andrew Robinson/The Telegram

PC candidate Shawn Skinner has lost his seat in St. John’s Centre, with the majority of votes being pulled in by NDP candidate Gerry Rogers.

Skinner supporters, having gathered at the Benevolent Irish Society in St. John’s, grew increasingly unnerved as the polls rolled in.

Skinner conceded to Rogers at 9 p.m.

He wished Rogers “all the best.” He thanked all of his supporters, but in particular his family, who he said he would be spending some more time with in the near future.

“I have to be honest, I never, ever felt like I was trailing. I always felt like Ms. Rogers was biting at my heels, I always felt like the NDP were certainly going to be a force, but never did I feel like we’ve lost the momentum,” Skinner later told reporters. “And you know as a candidate, I’ve been in ... this is my fourth election, (and) I think I have a good feel for that. So, I’m a little bit surprised tonight. But again I’m humbled by the number of people who did vote for me and I accept the decision that the people have made. I have no regrets in that regard.”

Skinner said he would like the Dunderdale government to continue social investments such as those he said have been made to date in housing and community groups.

Rogers arrived at NDP headquarters at the Sheraton hotel to loud chants at gathering Sheraton.

“It all feels a little surreal,” said the new MHA.

Rogers not only defeated a cabinet minister but she becomes the first openly gay MHA.

“I am very proud to be able to loudly declare that I am a lesbian that I have a very loving partner and that I am the first out MHA in Newfoundland and Labrador,” Rogers said, adding her win came on International Coming Out Day.

“I am so proud. I am so proud for all the gays and lesbians in our province who have worked so hard for us to come to this moment. Because it was a hard road for many, many years. Still many of our young people are bullied in school.”

Rogers and her partner, businesswoman Peg Norman, have been together for nearly 20 years.

Rogers pledged to take on a range of social issues, including matters affecting seniors.

Organizations: NDP, Benevolent Irish Society, Sheraton hotel

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Recent comments

  • Jenne Nolan
    October 14, 2011 - 11:44

    What a phenomenal victory. The people who came to volunteer for Gerry's campaign represented every walk of life. And their concerns and issues were/are as diverse and complex as you might imagine. The point here is that Gerry's work in our community has always been multi-tiered and inclusive. She's been an incredibly intelligent and compassionate community leader for decades and, as such, is perfectly suited to represent St. John's Centre.

  • Gerry Supporter
    October 13, 2011 - 09:29

    "The first openly gay MHA" is a big deal. It's progress. Anyone who thinks this is irrelevant must not have any interest in social justice. Also, it's worth mentioning that Gerry is very deeply concerned about our housing situation, our health care system, and our seniors... and NOT just our gay seniors.

  • Sharon
    October 12, 2011 - 21:41

    I have been watching politics for a long time and I don't ever remember a victory speech that focused on the sexuality of the candidate. Will that be the agenda for the next four years. With the election of Jerry it is a sad sad day for NL politics.

    • Ignorance Abounds
      October 13, 2011 - 12:45

      "Sharon", I think you are purposely misspelling her name and that further shows your ignorance and possible bigotry.

  • B. Stromer
    October 12, 2011 - 20:01

    Congratulations all the way from Santiago, Chile

    October 12, 2011 - 15:32

    When Kathy Dunderdale was elected last night, she expounded on the fact that she is the first female premiere of NFLD, today Gerry expounded on the fact that she is the first "OUT" MHA, these are just facts, nothing either specifically based their platform on, and should not warrant judgements about sexual orientation, get over the "LIZZIE thing" (ELI- comment). Gerry will make a difference for all people, and I feel that the Telegram should have posted more of the interview, and asked more questions. I suspect there was more than just last sentence of the article that explains the topics she will take on as representative for St. John's central, for Gerry surely shared more than just her sexual orientation, but that is what the media grabbed on to, to start this spiraling downward discourse, GET OVER IT! we are in the 21st century!

  • Cara
    October 12, 2011 - 15:16

    Gerry's victory had nothing to do with her being gay, and everything to do with the new hope and optimism St. John's wants to have for its government, and the entire province. The NDP have a voice that needs to be heard in the House, and now finally will be. If Kathy Dunderdale was allowed to be proud of being the first elected woman premier, why shouldn't Gerry be allowed to be proud of being the first elected openly gay woman?

  • Wallace Ryan
    October 12, 2011 - 13:13

    I'm so happy that Gerry got in, but disappointed the sad sack Liberals managed to barely get their claws into the Opposition Leaders office. Too bad they don't have a leader. I think this is the last time they'll take as many seats as they did this election. The Liberals are a dying breed...and that, is a good thing for our political process.

    • Hahaha
      October 12, 2011 - 14:37

      I am happy you're disappointed!

  • Nancy
    October 12, 2011 - 12:57

    What a wonderful victory for the NDP! Dunderdale better take notice - the majority of Newfoundland & Labrador's capital city does NOT support her.

  • Too Funny
    October 12, 2011 - 12:23

    Gerry Rogers, this should be amusing.

  • Wow
    October 12, 2011 - 10:49

    This is the biggest travesty of the election. I'm a Liberal, but to see this man get ousted by Gerry Rogers is truly sad. She has no idea about any issues (short of those pertaining to the gay community) and she speaks about love and justice as if this is some romantic story of victory. Skinner knew Muskrat was wrong, he's an intelligent man. Unfortunately, he miscalculated that it would be better to blindly support a ridiculous hydro project because he figured it would get him reelected. That being said he did not deserve this defeat at Rogers' hands. Thanks St. John's, we now have to listen to Lorraine Michael times 5 in the House of Assembly whenever and if ever it reopens.

    October 12, 2011 - 10:13

    @Joseph Mcgrath, are you saying you're glad the PC and Liberal parties did so well because Gerry Rogers is gay??? Seriously, is that what you're saying???

  • PC who
    October 12, 2011 - 10:10

    A great night for the NDP Party. The highlight for me was seeing Shawn Skinner defeated by Gerry Rogers. The man is full of you know what.!! He only got elected and lasted this long because of Danny Williams. He was a puppet for Danny and later Kathy. He only did what he was told. Someone should have given him a rag to wipe the brown off his nose. People have finally seen him for what he really is. His only agenda was to line his pockets and make himself look good. Not to worry Shawn. I'm sure Premier Dunderdale has a nice cushiony and lucrative position lined up for you for all your troubles, (ie: Workplace Health, Safety & Compensation Commission or The NLC). Enjoy being unemployed, I'm sure it won't be for long.

  • Bill
    October 12, 2011 - 10:04

    Skinner lost for many reasons, but Dunderdale should take it as an indication that there are many people in this province who are not comfortable with her current stance on Muskrat Falls. But I am sure Mr. Skinner will soon be appointed to a plum position paid for by our tax money.

  • Shawn
    October 12, 2011 - 09:32

    So pleased that such an eloquent and passionate person, such as Gerry Rogers, is representing the people of St. John's Centre! She is the very example of person that will restore people's faith in politicians.

  • Frank M
    October 12, 2011 - 09:00

    He's entitled to a good MHA pension and you know Premier Dunderdale will give him a plush appointment to something. When will Ross Reid and Len Simms get re-appointed to plush and unnecessary jobs in the public service. Will the Telegram cover that?

  • Spacecadet
    October 12, 2011 - 08:24

    Sorry to see Shawn Skinner leave Cabinet - he is a good person who cares about his constituents and who worked hard as Minister of various portfolios, most recently Natural Resources. Not sure who will fill his shoes, but am guessing that Jerome Kennedy will be likely. Congratulations to Gerry Rogers for running a good campaign in her district. I wish her well in her new role in the House.

  • Barry
    October 12, 2011 - 07:58

    Looks good on ya Skinner !!!!!! See what happens when you turn your back on the people of the district. You let several schools close without putting up a fight, remember when you told us on the phone that you "choose not to get involved with the school closures", well guess what, the people you forgot about never forgot about you. I sure hope you have a bitter taste in your mouth this morning, you deserve it.

    • Pam Patterson
      October 23, 2011 - 20:13

      Gerry.... from "one left breast" to another.... I have been following your campaign from out here in Ontario... way to go Grl! I know you have the well being of those in St John's in your heart... I have seen people calling to you in the streets... nad even better you call back!

  • Debby
    October 12, 2011 - 07:07

    Did Gerry Rogers run for Goverment or the Gay community????????????

    • Joseph McGrath
      October 12, 2011 - 09:21

      If this victory was about sexual oriention,which appears to be the big disclosure in this Telegram story ,then it falls far short of the "WOW"factor one hoped for from any elected NDP candidate.Why was this stuff only diclosed now???Boy am I glad the other 2 parties did so well.

    • Linda
      October 12, 2011 - 09:34

      Gerry ran for ALL PEOPLE, being gay is not her platform.... being a change-maker is..... this article is skewed, is this how the media is going to start her day 1 by focusing on just this aspect of Gerry? There is SO much more to this woman!! Give her the chance.... you will see.

    • Trina
      October 12, 2011 - 09:41

      Debby, Gerry Rogers ran for the people she will serve in her district... which include gay and lesbian constituents. Get a clue!

    • Eli
      October 12, 2011 - 12:40

      LINDA..It was Jerry herself who expounded on the Lizzie thing. The Telegram reported the comments. As for Skinner, if he was in trouble Dennis O'Keefe sure added to his misery.

    • Ignorance abounds
      October 12, 2011 - 14:35

      Eli, that is offensive... "Lizzie thing"?? You are totally ignorant and I am surprised that The Telegram published something bordering on a slur.

  • Joseph McGrath
    October 12, 2011 - 05:40

    I thought Ms.Rogers was running to help establish an increased base for the NDP in NL but here we are in the first story about her win been shown the so called greatness and excitment of being gay. It was my understanding that candidates would boast about their poliitical triump and not there sexual persuasion.I mean is this suppose to impress voters of this Province???Go figure

    • Shannon Reardon
      October 12, 2011 - 09:49

      She was noting that she won on National Coming Out Day and that she did make history as the first openly gay MHA in the province. I don't see anything "wrong" with that angle in the story, or for Rogers noting it herself. This is 2011, not 1961.

    • Shannon Reardon
      October 12, 2011 - 09:51

      *International Coming Out Day - oops

    • Tracy
      October 12, 2011 - 11:15

      Joseph Mcgrath, are you saying you're glad the PC and Liberal parties did so well because Gerry Rogers is gay??? Seriously, is that what you're saying???