KENTVILLE, NS - For Kings North MLA John Lohr, running for the leadership of the provincial Progressive Conservative (PC) party means supporting Nova Scotia’s people and economy and returning integrity to government.
Lohr sent an email notification to media and supporters and announced his intentions to run for the party leadership via Twitter on Jan. 8 at 10 a.m. Both the email and tweet contained a link to a video outlining his vision and approach to leadership.
This was followed by a news release at 10:30 a.m. that stated Lohr’s campaign will focus on three pillars: supporting Nova Scotia’s people, supporting Nova Scotia’s economy and returning integrity to Nova Scotia’s government.
In an interview later in the day, Lohr said making the decision to run was like putting the pieces of a puzzle together, including the formation of a campaign team. He said he’s confident in the quality of the team and in the quality of its work, which helped crystalize his decision to run.
“One of the considerations is not so much do I want to do this but do I have the resources and support to do it,” Lohr said. “You have to have really super people helping you and I have to say that I do.”
He said the work would now accelerate. Lohr recognizes that there are many challenges ahead as the leadership race progresses but feels the team has taken a great first step. Lohr is now focusing on reaching Nova Scotians and preparing for the PC’s annual general meeting in Halifax in February.
Lohr said he isn’t in the race to have fun but to win it and he’s confident that he can. He said party bylaws allow 18 months between the time a leader resigns and a new one is chosen. A committee has been struck and the expectation is that they’ll give a report at the upcoming annual meeting.
There are several possibilities for the committee to consider when it comes to the type of balloting at a leadership convention, likely to take place in the fall of 2018 or next winter. Lohr said he’s fine with whatever the committee decides and he’ll respect its decisions and process.
Lohr will be visiting all 51 constituencies across the province in preparation for the leadership convention, something he reasonably expects will take until at least the fall to complete.
He said he believes that everything that has happened to him so far in his personal, professional, political and volunteer life has prepared him to be the leader of the province.
“I think that it’s an opportunity to serve the public in a bigger way and that’s what’s attracting me to it,” Lohr said.
He’s looking forward to the coming year, which he figures will be the busiest of his life, and he believes he will enjoy the race. He said he’s been humbled by the support he’s received so far, especially from the constituents of Kings North.
Current PC party leader Jamie Baillie announced on Nov. 1 that he is stepping down, although he will remain as leader of the Official Opposition in the Nova Scotia Legislature until a new leader is chosen. The PC’s currently have 17 MLA’s.
Lohr was first elected Kings North MLA in 2013 and was re-elected in 2017.
Building a platform
With regard to people, Lohr said there are huge issues surrounding health and mental health care and a great need to identify ways to fix the problems.
Lohr said he remains concerned about rising sea levels and the necessity of raising the level of dykes. He said there are huge economic challenges facing Nova Scotia. We have to find a way to move the province forward. Lohr said that as time goes on, he would be releasing policy.
He wants the province to meet goals set by the Nova Scotia Commission on Building Our New Economy in the Ivany Report and Lohr remains concerned over a lack of high-speed Internet in rural Nova Scotia.
He said areas without high-speed Internet would become increasingly difficult to live in. Lohr sees this is a public policy issue for government to solve.
“We figured out 100 years ago how to give everybody telephone, we figured out how to provide electricity everywhere, we basically paved everywhere and I think the next big challenge for government is to figure out how to provide high-speed Internet everywhere,” he said.
When it comes to integrity, Lohr said he wants to be part of a government that keeps its word and, if a mistake is made, they own up to it. He said he doesn’t want to be part of a government that dithers on decisions or does what it says it will not do.
“There’s a cynicism about politics and politicians among the public and I don’t think that’s necessary,” Lohr said. “I think we can be careful about what we promise and not promise things that we know we can’t fulfill and I think the public will respond to that.”
Lohr said government has to filter everything it does to see how it will impact people. This is the kind of government Lohr wants to be a part of.
Click here to read the story announcing that Lohr was “seriously considering” a run for the party leadership and his unofficial platform.
Click here to watch the YouTube video from Lohr about his vision and approach to leadership.
Click here to read more about how Lohr announced his intentions on Jan. 8.