A 28-year-old law school graduate is entering the hotly contested Fredericton South riding as an independent candidate to spur debate on specific issues and to add a new voice to the race.
Courtney Mills, a server at Fredericton’s popular King Street Ale House, is no stranger to talking to people.
But now she’s taking on a new role as an independent candidate in a race packed with big name candidates.
"The decision to become … a public figure is not an easy one to make," Mills said.
"I enjoy my privacy and just living my life. But at the same time I just feel compelled to do it."
Mills made the decision to run for political office a few months after graduating from law school at the University of New Brunswick.
Her campaign is focused on underemployment of youth and giving voters an overall change.
"I'm trying to offer them an option, especially for people from my generation that are tired of not having their concerns addressed," she said.
This isn’t the first time that Mills has run for office. In the 2012 municipal election, she finished fifth in Fredericton’s Ward 10 race.
Mills said for far too long New Brunswick politics has been focused on partisan politics. She said it’s important to have a diversity of opinions and viewpoints in the legislature.
She also said she feels that more young women should get into politics.
"My life experience has taught me more about so many different things," she said.
"If businessmen were the ones who are best suited to run our province, then we’d be the most successful province in Canada because that’s all we’ve ever had, and career politicians. And that is clearly not the case. And we need something to change."
However, Mills is running in a riding that is full of big name candidates from other parties.
The Fredericton South ballot will also have on it: Progressive Conservative Craig Leonard, who is the province’s energy minister; NDP candidate Kelly Lamrock, the former Liberal education minister; Green Party Leader David Coon and Liberal Roy Wiggins.
The Green Party leader said he doesn't mind a newcomer to the race.
"The more the merrier in the democracy, we need to have lots of choice for people," Coon said. "And that’s what we have in this riding."
Lamrock also said he welcomes a full field of contenders in the downtown riding.
"Good people running. In a couple cases, folks that I consider friends. New Brunswick politics is like that," he said.
Mills said she understands that she may be the underdog in the Sept. 22 race.
But she's hoping that could be her ultimate advantage.
"I hope that they underestimate me and I hope they don't see me see me as a threat," Mills said.
"I hope that they focus on each other and just let me do my thing."