On Point: Steve Kent and Paul Davis on PC leadership

Last week, two more candidates put their names in the running to become the next leader of the Newfoundland and Labrador Progressive Conservatives.
Paul Davis and Steve Kent are the newest candidates to enter the race for PC Leader and Premier. 23:17

Last week, two more candidates put their names in the running to become the next leader of the Newfoundland and Labrador Progressive Conservatives.

MHA Paul Davis, who kicked off his leadership bid on Wednesday, said he hadn't entered the previous race because of some ongoing health concerns, but was in a better situation this time around.
Paul Davis says he has experience in different political roles, which will give him a good understanding of what needs to be done to bring the PCs and the public back together. (CBC)

Davis said he believes he'll bring a lot of experience to the leadership role, which would allow him to get the party back on track.

"I've proven myself over and over as a community leader, as a municipal councillor, as a person involved with community groups and activities, and as an MHA, and also as a cabinet minister," he said.

"I'm a big believer in the importance of team; I'm a big believer in bringing the best people together to make those right decisions… and I've had great success doing that in the past, and I think I can do that again now."

According to Davis, one of the key issues brought to him by the public has been a lack of communication recently by government — something he said he intends to fix.

"I think the public believes that we haven't done a very good job of [listening], and I think it's important for us to focus on doing that, because we have to respond to what our public want us to do," Davis said.

"Our MHAs are elected by the constituents and the residents in their own districts, and they have certain expectations, so when the public sends you a clear message that we need to do a better job in listening, then that's an important topic."

3rd to enter the race

MHA Steve Kent was the third candidate to join the leadership race, officially announcing his campaign on Thursday.

Speculation swirled during the previous leadership race that Kent would be seeking the role, but said he opted out and backed Frank Coleman because he was at a different place, professionally and personally.
MHA Steve Kent says the only reason he didn't run in the previous leadership election was because his wife was still pregnant, and he was working on important files for Premier Tom Marshall. (CBC)

"Ultimately I was almost in the race — papers were signed, [the] cheque was ready — and it was in the final hours that I ultimately decided to back Frank Coleman after many conversations with him," Kent said.

He added that since he and his wife had their third son, the timing for looking to be premier may not be perfect, but there will never be an ideal situation.

"I think having a spirited leadership race is exactly what the party needs right now. We've got at least three credible candidates, [and] who knows? By Monday's deadline, we might have more, and I think it will rejuvenate the party, it will reinvigorate the party, it'll create a lot of interest among the grassroots of the party, and that's exactly what we need."

Kent, Davis, and John Ottenheimer are all seeking the Tory leadership.

Kent and Davis were featured guests on this week's On Point with David Cochrane.


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