Evelyne Chapman may be a newcomer to the political arena but she’s not letting that stand in her way.
In fact, the French language teacher and mother of four from Memramcook says she is more than ready to take on the challenges that will come with the job if she’s elected the new MP for the Beausejour riding on May 2.
Chapman, the Conservative candidate in a four-way race for the MPs seat, admits she doesn’t have as much political experience as some of her opponents but she is confident her people skills and sincerity will go a long way in winning over voters.
“I am not a trained lawyer and I don’t have the political expertise that Mr. LeBlanc has . . . but I can relate to people,” she said. “And I think that’s one thing that’s been lacking is the connection with the people.”
Chapman also believes that constituents are fed up with having a Member of Parliament that hasn’t been as accessible as they would like.”
“As I’m going door to door, one thing has really stood out for me. People feel like they’ve been taken for granted. They don’t feel like anything’s getting done and they feel like they’re being ignored,” she said.
Chapman said her top priority as an MP would be to work together with representatives from each of the communities, businesses and other organizations throughout Beausejour to “find our what their needs and their priorities are.”
Whether it’s new business development or improving infrastructure, she said it would require everyone working together to bring their ideas to reality.
“The possibilities are endless,” she said.
Chapman, who first got her feet wet in politics at the provincial level last fall when she vied for the Conservative nomination in Memramcook-Lakeville-Dieppe, knows her biggest challenge is turning the tide from red to blue in the Beausejour riding, which has largely been dominated by Liberals for more than seven decades.
But she urged voters to lend her their support this coming election, saying a Harper-led government can get things done for the region.
“I’m asking for people to just lend me their vote once so we can get Beausejuor onto the table and get things done,” she said. “There is a lot of potential here . . . and I’m asking for people to give me the opportunity to show what I can do for them.”
Chapman said she is confident Prime Minister Stephen Harper is moving the country in the right direction and is convinced with his abilities to lead through difficult times.
“Harper, he’s getting things done. He’s got us through the economic instability, he’s carried us through,” she said.
Chapman, who describes herself as a “country Conservative,” says she hopes to be part of a government that takes a greater stand on the gun registry.
“I believe if people want to hunt, they should be able to hunt to provide for their family without having to register their long arms.”
She would also like Canada to take on a stronger military role.
“The government should be there to protect its people . . . we can’t always be hiding behind the United States.”
Locally, Chapman said she’s like to help constituents tackle issues such as employment insurance concerns in the coastal areas, the RCMP rebate in Sackville and obtaining infrastructure funds to repair wharves.
She believes the biggest concern in southeast New Brunswick, however, is the lack of employment opportunities and said she would like to bring in some meaningful economic development to the area by working with various stakeholders throughout the riding.
“If everyone puts their heads together, there are some great ideas out there.”