Nova Scotia

New Democrat MLA Marian Mancini will not run again

Marian Mancini thought she would be a "perfect fit" as a politician, but the former legal aid lawyer realized she was wrong just one year into the job as MLA for Dartmouth South.

Mancini won Dartmouth South seat 16 months ago, now says politics isn't a good fit

Dartmouth South MLA Marian Mancini says she will not reoffer in the next election. (CBC)

Marian Mancini thought she would be a "perfect fit" as a politician, but the former legal aid lawyer realized she was wrong just one year into the job as MLA for Dartmouth South.

It's one of the reasons she announced Thursday she will not be reoffering in the next provincial election, whenever it is called.

"I've just found that I've been really not overly happy since I started doing it," Mancini said. "Pretty cranky, actually, if you ask my family.

"I realize what I am is a public servant. I don't think I'm a politician."

'I'm really grateful'

Mancini, who gained her seat in a byelection in July 2015, said there are parts of the job of MLA that she loves, but "being a public figure" is something she "just couldn't get comfortable with."

"I like to help people out and if we can do anything I'm really grateful for it," she said. "I always get this sense, though, that people just think I'm doing it because I'm looking for their vote and it just makes me feel bad cause I'm doing it because I want to do it."

Mancini won her seat in a July 2015 byelection. (Jean Laroche/CBC)

She also found the pressures to attend every public event or meeting too much for her.

Mancini said she felt bad for not realizing that before deciding to run for the NDP. She beat out two other hopefuls, Bill Zebedee and Tracey Livesay, for the right to represent the party in last year's byelection.

She was the only New Democrat to win her race on that day. Liberals won the two other byelections, in Cape Breton Centre and Sydney-Whitney Pier.

Mancini's formal announcement she is leaving politics comes 16 months after winning the Dartmouth South seat by just 88 votes ahead of a Liberal contender. 

She had planned to step down before the next election but didn't want to trigger another possible byelection and force taxpayers to shoulder the extra costs.

Leadership not a factor

Although she supported Dave Wilson in the NDP leadership race earlier this year, rather than the eventual winner, Gary Burrill, she is adamant her decision has nothing to do with that or the direction of her party.

"I never made any secret of the fact I couldn't decide who to support so it wasn't like I had this deep, deep commitment to either of them so it really didn't play a factor."

For his part, Burrill acknowledged Mancini's decision to quit will be a loss for his caucus.

"If any incumbent doesn't reoffer, of course, that's a serious thing and we take Marian's contribution, I take Marian's contribution in major measure. She's a very capable person with a tonne of experience." 

Mancini isn't sure what she will do next. Her husband, Peter Mancini, a one-time MP in Cape Breton, has retired as a legal aid lawyer. The couple's three children are grown. One of them, Charlie, works for the NDP caucus office.

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