Gudie Hutchings was happy to see millions of dollars invested in her district over the past year, but she’s sure there’s more to get and she’s going to fight for more to help improve life for those she represents in Ottawa.
The MP for Long Range Mountains believes things like a new child-care benefit and investments in Parks Canada were some of the positives for the past year, but she knows more must be done and she’s willing to put a lot of energy and focus into initiatives that can be game changers for communities in her riding.
“Anything that makes long-term sense, I’m going to lobby hard for it and try to bring the money home,” Hutchings said during the Christmas break.
Hutchings shared her vision for 2018 with The Western Star during the holidays. Here are her top five priorities, in no particular order, for 2018:
The fishing industry in Newfoundland and Labrador is dear to Hutching’s heart and she sees a lot of potential for the future, but she believes it will take a team effort to tap into its true potential.
She believes things can get better if the federal government is engaged with all the key stakeholders and listening to those with knowledge from the scientists to the fishermen who have spent their life on the water.
“We need to make sure we’re making the right decisions to sustain our rural communities and help our fishermen,” she said.
2. Long-term game changers
Hutchings believes it’s critical to pursue more initiatives that are going to have a positive impact on the riding for the long term.
She would love to see more focus on initiatives like the investment of $4.2 million between the federal and provincial government to help build a new multi-functional theatre complex in Cow Head that was announced earlier this year.
She believes the new theatre complex is a life changer for the town and whole area when it comes to growing the province’s tourism sector.
“We need to find the opportunities that are going to be game changers for areas,” she said.
Hutchings believes infrastructure is a key to growth and she said the federal government has done some great projects, but she recognizes that there’s more work to be done when considering the country is way behind when it comes to quality infrastructure.
She sees the construction of the new Main Street bridge in Corner Brook, which she believes was ready to fall down, is a shining example of how infrastructure can complement a community.
She’s focusing her energy in 2018 on working with municipalities to ensure infrastructure needs are met in her riding, but she insists it must be well thought out.
“We’ve got to pick the right infrastructure projects that are going to help keep our communities strong and safe,” she said.
4. A helping hand for seniors
Hutchings has seen government make steps to help seniors like the old age security for single and independent seniors and improvements to pensions for veterans, but with her riding living with the reality of an aging population she believes more has to be done to make life better.
She said a lot of seniors are dealing with tough economic challenges and she wants to ease the burden.
“They’ve gotten us to where we are so now we have to look after them,” she said.
5. Build strong relationships
Forging ahead in 2018, Hutchings would like to see the positive relationships she’s built with municipal leaders and stakeholders over the past two years continue to thrive.
She believes things are getting done in her riding because all hands are working together to make things happen instead of trying to figure things out on their own in what is called tough times in this province right now.
“That’s how we really make a difference in the long term,” she said.