The Green Party’s leader and sole MLA is seeking re-election after a historic win in 2014.
Fredericton South narrowly elected David Coon as the first Green Party member to sit in the New Brunswick provincial legislature – and the fourth in the country.
“We’re at a point in our history where we’ve got to make some fundamental changes to address the challenges we’ve got,” he said.
Coon said the Greens are the only party putting forth proposals on several issues, including mental health, deforestation, the environment and green energy.
Before holding elected office, Coon worked as an organizer, environmental educator and activist. A biologist by trade, he spent 28 years with the Conservation Council of New Brunswick.
If re-elected, he plans to work to double the provincial budget for mental health and create more jobs for nurse practitioners.
Coon said he is supportive of the “initial steps” taken by the Liberal government’s free tuition program, but said the province must strive to make post-secondary education universally accessible.
“I’ve been the one voice in the legislature who has repeatedly said that the level of student debt is unaffordable and crushing on students,” he said.
The party leader has been actively engaging with constituents throughout his riding, holding town hall-style meetings in each of the four main neighbourhoods of Fredericton South with local municipal councilors.
He also holds youth and senior roundtables and informal officers hours on campus.
During his time in the legislature, Coon led the successful creation of a “Code of Conduct” for MLAs and introduced bills that would lower the voting age to 16 and eliminate political donations from corporations and trade unions.
Coon said he is interested in improving co-op programs to make sure work experiences are more accessible for young New Brunswickers. He said Green Party’s proposed health care reforms and increased support for small businesses would boost the economy and create jobs for graduates.
Coon is also looking to establish a regional aquatic centre in Fredericton South, address provincial funding issues for St. Thomas University, improve recycling programs, and revise legislation to improve tenants’ rights.