Tony Wakeham officially launched his run for the Progressive Conservative leadership Tuesday night with a gathering at the Murray’s Pond Fishing and Country Club in Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s.
Wakeham’s job experience includes time in the provincial auditor general’s office; in private enterprise, by way of restaurant investments; and in health management, having spent time living and working in Grand Falls-Windsor, Clarenville and most recently as chief executive officer of Labrador Grenfell Health in Happy Valley-Goose Bay.
He is taking his first steps into provincial politics and said he began considering a run for the leadership after being approached by more than one party member, after finishing his time at the northern health authority.
Among the 65 or so supporters on hand for his launch were current and past members of the House of Assembly, names including but not limited to David Brazil, Susan Sullivan and Sandy Collins.
Wakeham lives in Kippens, and said if he is selected to lead the party, his first choice would be to run to represent that area in 2019.
“I think I’m the right candidate at the right time because I have the experience as I said in public service, in policy development, and I know my province,” he told reporters.
Wakeham said there is work to be done to rebuild the party and to convince the public ahead of the next general election that the Progressive Conservatives deserve to govern once again. He said rebuilding will have to happen one day at a time, with the leader meeting with people in every district.
Wakeham said Ches Crosbie, the only other candidate in the running right now, is a great candidate, but he will focus on his own experience around the province as he begins his campaign.