Kings South MLA-elect looks ahead
By Jennifer Vardy Little
Two days after his victory in Kings South, Liberal Keith Irving is ready to get down to business.
“It feels great. It sinks in at some moments, and then others, I wonder what just happened,” said the Wolfville resident.
On Oct. 11, he went to Halifax to attend his first caucus meeting, where he had the chance to meet many of his fellow MLAs for the first time.
“There are a few I know from the municipal world,” said Irving, a former Wolfville councillor. “And I’ve spoken to others on conference calls. You have the sense that they’re going through the same thing you are. I’m looking forward to sharing stories with them. This is an exciting new government and I’m looking forward to getting down to work.”
With Liberal support sweeping across Nova Scotia, Irving says he’s not surprised by the election night results.
“If you look at the resumes of the new MLAs that have been elected, Nova Scotia has chosen well.”
There’s a steep learning curve ahead of him, Irving acknowledges.
“But that’s the reason I did this. New challenges, new things, new skills,” he said.
Irving isn’t being left on his own to navigate his new world as an MLA. Instead, he’s been teamed up with a new mentor, Kings West incumbent Leo Glavine, who has served as a Liberal MLA for 10 years now.
“I was delighted to hear about that,” said Irving. “He’s well respected and has been doing this for 10 years. He’s a great resource.”
Irving had already taken some of his advice while on the campaign trail and Glavine had come out to help him campaign.
With his phone already ringing, Irving is anxious to set up a constituency office and get started.
“I want to go to work and see if I can solve some issues for folks,” he said.
When asked whether he was interested in a cabinet position, Irving pointed out that’s something out of his control.
I want to go to work and see if I can solve some issues for folks. Keith Irving
“I’m going to focus on my job and focus on my constituency,” Irving said. “If I’m called upon, I’ll serve, but there’s a lot of talent (in the Liberal caucus) and there are geographical issues to consider as well.”
Leading up to the polls closing on Oct. 8, Irving said he was feeling fairly confident he would be successful.
“It was nerve-wracking, I’ll certainly admit that,” he said. “I was calm most of the day, but when the polls closed, I had a heightened sense of nerves.”
It didn’t help that the race was so close, either.
“It went on so long – they didn’t call it until the 50th poll was reporting – I was on the edge of my seat all night,” said Irving, who watched the results come in with his wife, Katherine, son, Simon and his sister, who came up from Halifax to offer her support.
The continuous poll, he said, was the big one.
“I was concerned that where it was so big, it could change things,” he said.
When it was finally called, Irving says he “jumped up and hugged my family.”
Irving had nothing but praise for his fellow candidates in Kings South, particularly incumbent Ramona Jennex.
“I have to thank Ramona Jennex for her four-and-a-half years of service to the people of Kings South,” he said. “She handled a difficult portfolio in a difficult time.”
The win, he said, is going to mean a big change for his family life. Irving, an architect, has been self-employed for most of his life.
“It’s not only full-time, it’s a time and a half job,” Irving said.
“It’s going to be a dramatic change for our family. It’s a challenging job, but it’s exciting. It’s an exciting time for Nova Scotians.”