Town Council candidates ask for your vote

L-R: Norm Rafuse, Lyle Yorke, Betty Atkinson, Maggie Phinney

L-R: Norm Rafuse, Lyle Yorke, Betty Atkinson, Maggie Phinney

About 25 people showed up last night at The Hall in Parrsboro to hear the candidates competing for the vacant seat on Town Council.

The event, organized by the Parrsboro and District Board of Trade, was moderated by lawyer Tom MacLaren who asked the candidates the following question:

Given the recent motion by the existing town council concerning dissolution into the county, will you support town council’s decision or work against it?

Here’s how the candidates responded:

Betty Atkinson: “According to the meeting last night, the process has already started. If I get in as council, where the process has already started, I would have to listen to what’s available, make my decision then on what’s given to me at that meeting. And as it stands, I’m already out-voted or whoever gets on council. The decision has started. So, why not work with and go ahead with what’s started. I think Parrsboro has a lot to offer. I don’t really see the municipality ever refusing us like with the FORCE station and the tidal power we are all over the world. We are on the map. We are a town that everybody wants and I feel that just transitioning into the municipality won’t stop that. We are who we are and I feel that change is good. I really am sad that Parrsboro’s not going to be a town anymore, but I can see the future being very, very bright for Parrsboro and that’s how I stand on that situation.”

Maggie Phinney: “I think the decision made by council was not done lightly. It was done with some very heavy discussion and a great deal of thought went into the decision. I would have to support the council on their decision if I’m to work with them. I already had that question posed to me today earlier and when I said I supported the town’s decision, this person looked at me and [I said] ‘does that mean I’ve lost your vote’ and she said ‘no’, but anyway, yes definitely I would support the town in this decision and the council.”

Lyle Yorke: “Well, I’m not a sitting-on-the-fence person. I debated whether I should say how I feel about this, but if I go one way on public I may lose some votes, if I go the other way there’s votes,  so I have to say I am against it but, however, if I’m elected I will work with the present council to try to do the right thing. If there’s something I don’t agree with, I probably would bring it up and wouldn’t necessarily say yes to it, but I would certainly work with them.”

Norman Rafuse: “Well, on September the 5th if the people of Parrsboro elect me, I figure then that I lose my personal opinions. If I’m elected by the people of Parrsboro, I will work for what they want.”

Why I want to be a town councillor

The four candidates were also asked to give opening pitches and here’s what they said:

Norman Rafuse: “Over the past 40 years, I’ve worked in, I started a  business 40 years ago, myself and one old beat-up truck and a few tools. Now, in the past 40 years, we’ve taken our business up to where our annual payroll is roughly $600,000. We’ve put a lot of bread and butter on the tables in this town and in the county. I feel that with the business experience that I’ve acquired through this and doing this work that would allow me to go on to work with the council and knowing that this experience has put me through about all phases of businesses there is and will come. At present too, I now serve on three boards here in the town and I put a lot of time and a lot of effort into all of these as any of you whom know me on the boards will know that and I have a great passion for this town and I plan on living here the rest of my life. My wife and I are building  a new home and I think this town has a great future and I would love to be part of to build that future.”

Lyle Yorke: Why do I want to be elected to Parrsboro Town Council? Because I care. Why have I worked on the various tourism committees for over 55 years? Because I care. Why did I serve 11 years on council? Because I care. Why was my business on Main Street for over 55 years? Because I care for my customers. I also served on CJSMA,  which is the Cumberland Joint Service Management Authority for 11 years. I believe in  the people that make the town. We’re not elected to manage the town, we’re elected to govern the town. The majority must be the most significant consideration in any decision-making. The option, the opinion of the minority should be considered carefully. Like I said, I’ve been in business 55 years. I’m now retired and I sold furniture and appliances and carpets and guitars and everything you can think of over the years and I feel that I could, I spent 11 years on council a few years ago, and I feel I could still add a lot to it. I believe in the town and I tried the best I could. So, I’d like to have another chance at it for a year, thank you.”

Betty Atkinson: “I’m running for town council because I also care and I want to be the voice of the people in Parrsboro. I think the people should be heard. I enjoy listening to everything they want done and need done in this town and I want to be Parrsboro’s representative on council and I now, more than ever, this is a very, very important year. I may be on council if I get on, a few months, but they’re the most important months. We have a lot to do to make sure that we get a list of items on that list that we need in our community and I’m going to make sure that we get what we need before we finish the paperwork that’s involved with the decision [we’re facing]. Thank you.”

Maggie Phinney: “Hi. I spent my formative years here in Parrsboro. I went to school here and sadly, there was a lot of issues why we had to leave. I won’t go into them because they’re very private. I spent 40 years away from town, from this town, but I learned a wealth of information through my work places with seniors which is predominantly what I did. I would like to see more care given for seniors here rather than just have a place put them up on the hill and forget about it. We need to have more seniors’ homes. I’d like to see that happen. I’d like to work  with Town Council. I’ve been told I have a big mouth, I’m always raising issues, always asking questions and wanting the answers so I was  told the best way to do it is try to get on the council and maybe [I] might get some of those answers. So, I don’t have much experience with politics or, councils, but I do have a lot of experience on volunteer boards, worked with a lot of them from Nanaimo right across the country.  So if you want to consider me to be a part of your voice, I’d appreciate it. Thank you.”

Election dates

Voters can cast their ballots at the Parrsboro Fire Hall between 8 a.m and 7 p.m. on Saturday September 5th.

Two advance polls will also be held at the Fire Hall on Saturday August 29 and Tuesday September 1st.

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