Liberal Candidate for Pictou Centre
Jim McKenna has been involved in the Liberal Party for many years, but this is his first time running as a candidate. He has been on the executive of Pictou Centre Liberal Association, and has also been active on Liberal Member of Parliament Sean Fraser’s executive.
Jim recently retired from Nova Scotia Community College after working at Pictou Campus for almost 30 years as an educator, counsellor, and manager of the Student Services team.
Jim is professionally trained as a Social Worker. As such, he has been an advocate for others in his work as well as in his community. He is currently on the Boards of Pictou County Safe Harbour, and the Pictou County Fuel Fund. He is also on the Pictou Academy Educational Foundation. Previous involvement includes being on the boards of the Pictou County Food Bank, Summer Street Industries, New Glasgow Riverfront Music Festival, and the Rotary Club and the Kinsmen Club of New Glasgow. He was also a volunteer with the VON.
He is a graduate of St.F.X., Memorial and Acadia Universities, and also has received a diploma in Adult Vocational Education from NSCC.
Jim has been married to Wanda since 1984; they reside in New Glasgow. They have two adult children, Josh, who lives in Halifax, and Beth, who lives in Montreal.
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For his work in bringing people in Pictou County together and helping others during the pandemic, in January of 2021, Jim was recognized as being a difference maker by the Pictou County Chamber of Commerce.
Jim is all about making a difference as a lifelong advocate in his community. He has been involved in a lot of different things over the years because he believes that the more involved you are, the more you become aware of the issues that are important in the community that need to be addressed. Jim wants to take his advocacy for the people of Pictou Centre as your member of the Provincial Legislature in Halifax.
When the pandemic came to Pictou County in 2020, Jim started a Facebook group “Helping During Coronavirus – Pictou County” to bring his Pictou County community together to help each other. Almost 6000 people from Pictou County joined the group. Countless acts of kindness and good deeds have been undertaken by members of the group.
At the same time, Jim formed a group of volunteers who deliver food orders from the New Glasgow food bank to people who are food insecure. Over 4000 food orders from the food bank have been delivered to people in need in Pictou County since the state of emergency was declared in Nova Scotia. Jim was recognized by the Chamber of Commerce in January of 2021 as one of the people who made a difference in our community during the pandemic.
Jim has appreciated the leadership that this Liberal government has provided through the pandemic – our Premiers have cleared a path for health experts to lead the way. As a result of good leadership, our province has been one of the safest places in North America during the pandemic. Now that we are beginning to emerge from the pandemic, the Liberals have a strong plan to rebuild our economy and get us back on our feet economically. Jim wants to ensure that the people of Pictou Centre have a voice in participating in our economic recovery in the next Liberal government.
Pictou County needs strengthened economic opportunities. Liberal Member of Parliament Sean Fraser and Jim will work together to attract new businesses to Pictou Centre. We have an industrial park in each town in the riding, and have a population that is ready to welcome new employers to our community.
The Nova Scotia Community College Campus in Stellarton is a state-of-the-art facility that we can all take pride in. Jim worked at the NSCC Campus in Stellarton for nearly 30 years and took inspiration from the thousands of students who graduated and have gone on to become employed in Pictou County and beyond. He also heard their concerns: we need to have an infusion of programs at the campus to prepare student for jobs in our new economy. If we want our children to have the option to stay in our community, we must have training programs that will meet the demands of current and future employers in our region.
If elected, Jim will work to ensure that we bring exciting, educational opportunities to our students. Appropriate and innovative training will create a strong and motivated workforce, and when that is combined with our existing industrial resources, will attract new business to our region, and allow our children and skilled workers to live and work in their home community.
Many in our community have been through a lot during the pandemic and it has affected the mental health of people of all ages. Jim will work to ensure that we have more mental health professionals in our schools to better support children and youth. As a professionally trained mental health professional, he will work to ensure that mental health and addictions services staffing is equal or above staffing levels of other communities in Nova Scotia with similar populations.
There are concrete efforts underway to recruit physicians to our area but we need to do more. In addition to recruiting physicians, as a community, we need to work to retain health professionals when they choose to live and work in our community. We are a wonderful and welcoming community, and we need to reach out to new health professionals and their families to make sure that they feel welcomed and integrated into our community. We are fortunate that we have one of the best orthopaedic units in the province, but we need services to meet other needs including expanding the local dialysis unit and having Nurse Practitioners working alongside ER physicians at the outpatient department of the Aberdeen Hospital.
The town of Trenton needs and deserves a new P-8 school. As part of the next Liberal government, Jim will ensure that this need is heard, and will work with the Minister of Education to ensure that this becomes a priority for the government.
Affordable housing is more than a buzzword for me. In his work and volunteer efforts, Jim has seen the urgent need for quality, affordable housing. We need to bring people together to find immediate solutions to get new affordable housing units built. There are great models of community housing in nearby areas that we can learn from, whether it be retrofitting old and abandoned homes, or constructing new units, all options need to be explored. He wants to be a voice that brings people together to make this happen.
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