Ray Hunter is a name that’s been synonymous with politics in Newfoundland and Labrador for the better part of two decades. The Grand Falls-Windsor-Green Bay South Progressive Conservative MHA first got elected in 1999, and he’s been serving his district ever since.
But after two re-elections and nearly 14 years later, Hunter said his time in politics is coming to an end.
He told the Advertiser during an interview last week that he has no intention to run again in the 2015 provincial election.
Hunter said while he’d like to finish the remainder of his four-year term, a by-election isn’t out of the question.
“I really don’t know if I’ll be staying a month, a year, or three years,” he said “It’s really early to tell what my next step is going to be.”
Hunter said there were a number of factors that led him to the decision, but he’s fairly sure he is ready to throw in the towel sometime in the next three years.
“I’m 58 years old now…there’s only so long you can do something, day after day, until you need a change, and maybe retirement is my change,” he said. “I still love my job, I still love serving the people, but this is not like a regular job – it’s 24/7. Fourteen years doing this job is like 35 years working somewhere else.”
No such thing as a sure thing
Hunter said during his 14 years serving as MHA, he’s become less interested in towing the party line and more interested in doing what’s best for his district and the province.
“I’m going to do whatever it takes for the best interest of the province and the future, and sometimes, that can conflict with other things.” - –Ray Hunter
“Some people will do whatever it takes to stay where they’re to. They’ll say ‘I’ll do whatever it takes to be a PC, or I’ll do whatever it takes to be a Liberal,’” said Hunter. “I’m going to do whatever it takes for the best interest of the province and the future, and sometimes, that can conflict with other things.”
While Hunter didn’t elaborate on what he meant, he did say he had a wide variety of opinions he might need to express in the next little while.
“I can’t tell you where I’m going to stand on an issue in the next six months or eight months, I really don’t know that anymore.”
Because of the nature of politics, Hunter said, there’s no such thing as a sure thing – including his own career; he said things can change day-to-day.
“You can never say never in politics, that’s one of the lessons I’ve learned.”
While many things are still up in the air for Hunter, one thing he’s certain about is ensuring his district is in a good place when the time comes for him to duck out.
“I certainly wouldn’t want to leave my district high and dry…or if I did go for three years, I’d want to be comfortable with who is coming behind me,” he said. “I wouldn’t turn my back on my district.”