MP Pat Davidson stepping down

Pat Davidson is taking a break after 34 years in public office. The Sarnia-Lambton MP is seen here shaking hands with House of Commons Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers following his dramatic takedown of the Parliament Hill shooter in October. Photo courtesy, Bernard Thibodeau

Heather Wright

Special to The Journal

A would-be successor to Pat Davidson has announced his intention of seeking the Conservative nomination in Sarnia-Lambton.

Pete Aarssen, 52, is a regional director of Freedom 55 Financial and Canadian Forces veteran who has served on the boards of the Canadian Hearing Society and Sarnia-Lambton Chamber of Commerce.

Aarssen is the first local Conservative to declare an interest in leading the party in the 2015 federal election.

The riding association has not yet set a nomination date.

Davidson announced recently she is stepping aside after 34 years of municipal and federal politics to spend more time with family.

“I will be glad to be home. I enjoy my time in Ottawa, it goes very quickly, but it can also be a lonely time,” she said. “I don’t think I’ll miss that particular thing.”

Davidson didn’t rule out the possibility of serving the community again but said she’s looking forward to a rest.

“I’m hoping to spend more time with my family, spend more time with my friends, picking up and going on a vacation.

“And I hope to spend more time fishing.”

Elizabeth Wood MacDonald is the only declared Liberal candidate so far in Sarnia-Lambton.

Wood MacDonald was a Sarnia councillor in the late ‘80s and early ‘90s and has long been active in the Liberal party. She was president of the federal riding association when Jean Chretien was prime minister, and is currently the head of the provincial Liberal association in Sarnia-Lambton.

“I didn’t run in 2011 because I felt Pat (Davidson) was unbeatable,” she said.

But that has changed, she added.

“The federal Conservative leader and the Conservative policy in the last six years makes it possible to win this swing riding back to the Liberals.”