St. John’s businesswoman Cathy Bennett is being courted for — and is considering — a bid for the leadership of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Liberal Party, CBC News has learned.
"I'm having conversations with a lot of people," Bennett said Wednesday when asked about possible leadership ambitions.
"I'm honestly telling you, I don't have my mind made up."
Bennett says she has to consider the "implications for my family and businesses" of any potential jump into politics.
"It's an important decision and I'm gathering facts," she said.
Bennett’s resume includes involvement with a long list of companies in a variety of sectors, according to her LinkedIn profile.
She is the owner/operator of Bennett Restaurants, which operates eight McDonald’s locations in the St. John’s area.
Bennett is also CEO of the Bennett Group of Companies, which employs more than 300 workers.
In addition to the restaurant industry, the Bennett Group has stakes in commercial and residential real estate properties and commercial renovation projects.
Bennett is Eastern Canada president for Diamond Global Recruitment Group Inc., director of New Millennium Iron Corp., director of The Shaw Group of Companies, and a board member of Bell Aliant.
'It's an important decision and I'm gathering facts.' —Cathy Bennett
She has served as a governor with the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council for the past five years, and treasurer of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce for the past three.
Bennett was president of the St. John’s Board of Trade in 2007, and logged nearly five years on the board of Nalcor Energy before stepping down last year.
She is listed as a supporter of the Muskrat Falls hydro project on the "I Believe in the Power of N.L." website. The Liberals have been critical of the project.
Liberal numbers rebound in recent poll
A recent poll showed a spike in support for the provincial Liberals.
In May, Halifax-based Corporate Research Associates found that the Liberals had the support of 36 per cent of decided voters, in a statistical tie for first place with the NDP. The governing Tories dropped to third, with 27 per cent support.
The deadline for prospective candidates to enter the Liberal leadership race is July 5.
The convention is scheduled for November in St. John’s.
Interim party leader Dwight Ball is the only officially declared candidate to date.
Others thought to be interested in the job are St. Barbe MHA Jim Bennett, who briefly served as party leader seven years ago, and former MHA Danny Dumaresque.
Charles Murphy, a businessman from Irishtown-Summerside, indicated to The Western Star this week that he will also run.