By David Shuman
Colter Simmonds says he wasn’t ready the last time he campaigned to represent Preston. This time around, he says he found his calling.
Simmonds is running for the New Democratic Party for the second time. He is well known as a basketball coach, a youth advocate, and the founder of the We Will Win Youth Association.
In an interview with the Cooperator, Simmonds said he got into the race because he was told to run. Not by a party, but by his mother in the last months of her life. The night Angela Simmonds stepped down, his mother encouraged him to run, but he said no. But after taking time to consider his mom’s advice, he decided to run. When it came time to sign his nomination papers, Simmonds asked his mother if she still thought he should run. “She said no. And I was like ‘what do you mean? I just went through a whole process of bringing myself to do this. She knew something, and usually people do and at this point in her life... She was worried that she wouldn’t be here to support me.”
Simmonds has spent years advocating for youth in his community and around the province. He says issues in the health and seniors care systems make life harder for elders, and building our young people is a long-term solution.
“It’s the young people,” he says. “I want to help young people see a future for themselves, so they stay within the riding and help the riding to grow– they stay within Nova Scotia and help Nova Scotia grow. So they’ll be able to be there to look after their parents and their grandparents.”
“We always say kids are the future, but they’re also the present,” he says. “They’re also the leaders that will be there and support the elders. I think it takes some of the pressure off the system.”
He believes an affordability crisis is making life harder for people across the province, but especially in the Preston riding.
Simmonds said that people are having to be “very selective in the things they purchase and how they are able to make things last.” People have told him they’re timing their showers and being more intentional with how much they drive to save money.
“There is no easy solution but there should be collaboration to look at ways to make necessary changes to fix the issue,” he said. “Don’t make empty promises.” He wants to work with community groups like food banks to provide the support they need.