By David Shuman
Carlo Simmons told the Cooperator that he was initially skeptical when asked to run by Keith Colwell, the former Liberal MLA who represented the riding for around two decades. But after talking things over with his wife Loretta, he decided it was time to give back to his community.
Simmons has deep roots in North Preston. He was born and raised in North Preston, where he now lives with his wife and two daughters. One daughter is a nurse and the other is studying to be a veterinarian in Prince Edward Island. His wife works in the provincial government.
Simmons has been involved with community organizations for years. He serves as an associate pastor at Word in Action Ministries in Dartmouth and has worked with the Preston Area Housing Association and the Back to School Initiative, providing supplies to students in the Caledonia area.
Simmons owns Simmons Paving Company, a business his father started nearly 50 years ago. Simmons said he admired his father’s example of serving the community. “Folks say ‘you have some big shoes to fill,” Simmons said. “No, I don’t think so. I don’t think I’m going to fill those shoes. I have to start my own footsteps.”
He cited his business sense and experience as an important quality setting him apart from the other candidates in the race. He’s been campaigning in the riding since the middle of May and said he has heard lots of concerns around affordable housing and senior care. “I’ve been talking to constituents that are having their grandkids living with them,” Simmons said. “There are folks that are married living with them and their kids because they can’t afford housing – it’s too expensive.”
Simmons says his biggest goal for his riding is to bring people together over housing solutions. “There’s so many different communities and I know it’s going to be hard, but it’s a challenge that we all can work together.”
As MLA, he says he would work on bringing the community together to discuss topics that impact them. He suggested working with leaders of different community groups across different areas of the riding to coordinate resources and plans.