Jill Dunlop announces intentions to seek nomination of the Simcoe North PCs
PATRICK BALES/THE PACKET & TIMES Surrounded by daughters Karley, Rachel and Madison Rynard, Jill Dunlop, left, announced she was seeking the nomination for the Progressive Conservative Party in the Simcoe-North riding for the 2018 provincial election.
It was a mild, sunny morning in Coldwater on Wednesday. It wasn't too hard to imagine being at Cape Canaveral, just like Rod Williams, a volunteer with the Simcoe-North Progressive Conservative Party, wanted the crowd outside the library to do.
He wanted to crowd to picture themselves on a beach, looking out into the Atlantic Ocean. In the distance, a Saturn 5 rocket ship had just been launched.
"It disappears into the bright blue sky and it becomes a very bright star," he said. "That's where we are today with this launch. This is our launch of a bright star."
Williams was introducing Jill Dunlop, the candidate he hopes will be the next nominee of the Simcoe North conservatives to run for a seat at Queen's Park in the 2018 provincial election.
Dunlop says there is no time like the present to live out a life-long dream to serve Simcoe North.
"It's something I've grown up in and I understand what a great opportunity it is, but I also understand the commitment it will take for a candidate," she said, referring to her history of working on the political campaigns of both her parents. "At this point in my life, my children are growing up, so I can pursue a new goal I've always had."
The last time Simcoe North had an open nomination process was 1999, when Dunlop's father, Garfield, was first selected to represent the local conservatives. The elder Dunlop held the seat until July 2015 when he retired, making room for Progressive Conservative Party leader Patrick Brown to take over the seat in a byelection last September.
Her connection to the area, being born and raised in the riding, and subsequently raising her children here, is one the strengths Dunlop feels she brings to the table as she seeks support for the nomination.
"I understand what the constituents in Simcoe-North expect from their representative," she said. "They expect someone with the grassroots, who is going to be here and be attending their events and be representing them the best they can at Queen's Park."
During her introductory speech, Dunlop, a faculty member at Georgian College Orillia, highlighted some of the key issues she feels need attention in the riding from curtailing the cuts to health care which have impacted Georgian Bay General and Orillia Soldiers' Memorial hosptials to calling for the stretch of Highway 12 between Atherley Road and Highway 11 to be widened to four lanes.
Dunlop's three daughters, Karley, Madison and Rachel Rynard, joined her at the podium for her announcement. Her parents, Garfield and Severn Township ward councillor Jane, were among the well wishers in the audience.