Preston MLA Angela Simmonds stepping down in April

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Preston MLA Angela Simmonds stepping down in April
WATCH: She once ran to lead the Nova Scotia Liberal Party but now Angela Simmonds is stepping down. The Preston MLA made the surprise announcement she’s resigning effective April 1, both as a member of the legislative assembly and as deputy speaker. Alicia Draus reports. – Jan 25, 2023

Nova Scotia Liberal MLA Angela Simmonds has announced she will be stepping down from her roles, both as a member of the legislative assembly and as deputy speaker.

A joint news release from Simmonds and Liberal leader Zach Churchill said her resignation is effective April 1.

“For me, this decision is necessary to stretch out the legacy of changemakers, lifting up new voices while also preserving my own,” said Simmonds in the release.

“I’m proud of the work that this party has done for Nova Scotians over the last two years. I’ll be spending these next few months with family and in my community as I work through what comes next for me, continuing to support initiatives of anti-racism, equity, diversity, and inclusion.”

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Simmonds was elected as the MLA for Preston during the provincial election in August 2021. She ran for provincial Liberal leadership last year, but lost to Churchill.

In a letter posted to social media Wednesday, Simmonds said she got into politics to “help others believe in change and feel inspired to find the courage to make those changes a lasting part of our community.”

She said her experience in politics has taught her a great deal and she is ready to take that knowledge into the community.

“I may have been the first African Nova Scotian Deputy Speaker, the first African Nova Scotian woman to be elected to the Liberal party as the MLA for Preston, and the first African Nova Scotian woman to run for the leadership of the Liberal Party of Nova Scotia but I will not be the last,” she said.

Simmonds said she will continue to “listen, advocate, and make certain my abilities and experience are used to continue working towards anti-racism, equity, diversity, and inclusion.”

“Doing this now will look a little different,” she said. “It won’t be adversarial, it will be how I want to lead and advocate – with empathy and integrity.”

‘It’s time’

In a news conference Wednesday afternoon, Simmonds told reporters that “nothing specific happened” to make her reconsider the role.

“It’s time,” she said. “I think there’s a lot of eager changemakers ready to leave a legacy and I am ready to serve my community and the province outside of the walls of politics.”

She said she spoke about her decision with the party and Churchill Wednesday morning.

Simmonds, a lawyer by trade, said she doesn’t have any immediate plans for the future, but said she would like to work toward a more equitable and inclusive society.

She said she was thankful for this opportunity.

“I have always been in this constituency and community and regardless of what role I play, where I sit, I’ll always be there for them,” she said.

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In a release, Churchill described Simmonds as a “valued member of our caucus.”

“Throughout her time as an MLA and a leadership candidate, she stuck true to her principles and values while bringing new members to the Nova Scotia Liberal Party,” he said.

“I have immense respect for her as a colleague and friend, and I look forward to continuing to work with her in the coming months. I know she will do great things in her future to better her community and all of Nova Scotia.”


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