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Kempe to challenge for Burt’s seat

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Left to right: Susan Jackson, Senator Andrew Simons, Michael Dunkley, the Premier, Jeanne Atherden, Nick Kempe (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Businessman Nick Kempe is to fight for Opposition leader David Burt’s seat at the next General Election.

Mr Kempe was among four One Bermuda Alliance candidates for Pembroke unveiled at a press conference by Michael Dunkley, the Premier.

Senator Andrew Simons stands as the OBA challenger for Constituency 17, Pembroke Central, now held by Progressive Labour Party MP Walton Brown, while health minister Jeanne Atherden and Government whip Susan Jackson are incumbents in their seats for constituencies 19, Pembroke West, and 20, Pembroke South West.

Praising the “high-calibre team”, the Premier commended its “experience, fresh new faces, and certainly the ability to get the job done”.

Mr Dunkley portrayed the island as having come far since the OBA’s victory in December 2012, when it faced “serious challenges — and certainly with government finances”.

“Slowly but surely, the OBA has turned this country around,” the Premier added, saying his party would be “excited, when the General Election is finally called, to talk about our record”.

For Mr Kempe, yesterday’s announcement signals the return to Constituency 18, Pembroke West Central, after losing there in 2012 to Mr Burt by 332 votes to 415 — a contest in which independent Phil Perinchief took 87 votes.

Saying his focus in 2012 had consisted of building relationships, Mr Kempe stressed his role in the five years since of providing assistance to neighbours on matters such as financial assistance, and pursuing government departments to deal with issues ranging from dangerous roads to overgrown bus stops.

Mr Simons was also returning to old ground: Mr Brown edged past him in 2012 by 353 votes to 347. He ran unsuccessfully for the OBA in Devonshire North Central in 2016.

“I believe I am even better as a candidate now,” Mr Simons said, calling himself “still passionate about public policy”, particularly on debt, the ageing population, and healthcare.

Ms Atherden, meanwhile, recalled wondering on the night of her election victory if the OBA had won the battle but lost the war — adding that she had pitched in with “whatever I could to help Bermuda right the ship”.

“I want to be part of the team that continues expanding opportunity for Bermudians,” the minister added.

Introducing Ms Jackson, the Premier said the candidate was starting to take up the same cause as her late mother, Louise Jackson — seniors.

Ms Jackson touched upon her time as the appointed receiver for the Summerhaven home for the physically challenged, saying she wished to provide more opportunities for seniors to age at home.

She also spoke of tackling local issues from paving roads to setting up neighbourhood watches. Ms Atherden claimed 530 votes in 2012, while the PLP’s Vincent Ingham took 275 and independents Erwin Adderley and Meredith Stapff ended with 28 and 25 votes.

In 2012, Ms Jackson garnered 654 votes, ahead of 127 for Marcus Jones of the PLP and independents David Petty, with 31 votes, and Jonathan Starling, with 24 votes.