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Dennis King has officially entered the race to lead the P.E.I. PC party into the next election.
King made the announcement at Kings Playhouse in his hometown of Georgetown Wednesday night and set the tone of his campaign by calling for more collaboration in provincial politics.
About 200 supporters, including a number of sitting MLAs, applauded King as he described his vision for more civil political discourse.
“I mean true, honest collaboration. Not ‘lets just say we’re going to do it’ but to actually put that into practice,” said King. “I’ve believed this for a long, long time, we’re too small as a province to focus only on what divides us.”
King, 47, said his previous experience has also helped him prepare for the potential job.
He is a former journalist, was the communications director for former premier Pat Binns and also worked with the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of P.E.I. He is the executive director of the P.E.I. Seafood Processors Association and is also known to Islanders as a storyteller and political commentator.
King said, prior to entering the contest, he asked Islanders across the province their general thoughts of P.E.I.’s current political landscape.
“What I heard was partly startling and partly reaffirming of what I felt in my heart. And that is that people are disillusioned with politics,” said King. “I want to loosen the partisan grip on our democratic institution. I want to set a different tone. In government, we must embrace all good ideas suggested by members of all parties or the public at large.”
During his speech, King also called for more investment in small businesses and Island-wide high-speed Internet. He wants to create a carbon neutral society by setting a binding target for P.E.I.’s energy consumption to come from renewable resources.
King also called for a critical review of P.E.I.’s school curriculum as well as caps on class sizes.
King said he’ll unveil more of his platform throughout the leadership campaign.
If he wins the PC leadership, King, a resident of Brookfield, would be running in the new District 15 Hunter River-Brackley in the next provincial election. That district would see part of PC MLA Brad Trivers’ current district, as well as some of Independent MLA Bush Dumville’s district.
King is the second candidate to enter the PC leadership race, with retired naval officer Allan Dale announcing his candidacy last week.