Joan Shea wished well in retirement

Frank Gale
Published on June 3, 2014

Bob Byrnes, president of the Bay St. George Chamber of Commerce, said it is strange that Joan Shea is leaving politics one year away from an election.
The long-serving MHA and minister for a number of departments during her career announced her resignation Monday.

Byrnes realizes politics takes a toll on people's lives and he speculated maybe there's some personal reason she going. He's hopes some good candidates will step forward because "this district needs some good representation."

He said he's worked with Shea on different things for the past 15 years, even prior to her getting into politics, when she was in corrections and he served on the board of admissions for Westbridge House in Stephenville, a facility to help individuals reintegrate into society after a period of incarceration.

Byrnes said he gave Shea some advice when she first decided to run for the district, and that the two have had their disagreements over the years, but for him it was not personal.

Byrnes has had run-ins with her on such things as the rerouting of Route 460 (Hansen Highway) and said there are lots of other roads in the district he would have liked to have seen done.

"All I ever wanted was the best for the people of this province. I give 110 per cent and expect nothing less from the person who is representing the district," he said.

Byrnes said when people put you in office they expect a lot from you, and despite his disagreements with Shea, he wishes her well in her retirement from politics.

StephenvilleMayor Tom O'Brien said he wasn't surprised to hear of the resignation of Shea, MHA for the District of St. George's-Stephenville East.

"You're never surprised in politics and I wish her nothing but the best in her next undertaking, whatever that might be."

O'Brien thanked Shea for the time and effort she put in and said he enjoyed working with her. He said she put a lot of work into the district over her career.

Wayne Lee, a local member of the Progressive Conservative Association executive, said he is sorry to see Shea go.

He said she made a great contribution to the district and to all of Newfoundland and Labrador. Lee said there is a lot of work that she put into the district that people don't even realize, including having bridges fixed and roads started.

"She will be sorely missed," Lee said.

He said Shea has also paved the way for women in politics and has not only made it easier for women to get into politics, but demonstrated women can take positions of great importance.