As the dog days of summer wind up but before the political chitter chatter in New Brunswick picks up volume, I thought I would try to do something interesting. The talk of Dennis Atchison running for leader of the NDP reminded me of one up-and-comer in particular.
Last year, I first wrote about Rick Miles, the 37-year-old MLA from Fredericton-Silverwood and chair of the Government Caucus, in describing him as an "early 20s student" who had no chance against NDP star Atchison and Tory health minister Brad Green. Whoops. I mean it was close wasn't it? You say he won by 7 points and in 24 of 32 polls and tied in a 25th? Ahem.
So I have already made an earlier mea culpa on this one. I am able to restore a bit of my ego by noting that everyone else was of pretty much the same view. As I have before, I tip my hat to Mr. Miles for a tremendous victory.
Since then he re-surprised me in winning the chairmanship of the Liberal Government Caucus; an equally impressive feat for a first-time MLA. I understand he played a significant role in the defection of Mr. & Mrs. Stiles from the PCs and he has been one of the strongest backbench defenders of the government on the floor of the legislature.
If he didn't have the misfortune of sharing a city with T. J. Burke, Greg Byrne and Kelly Lamrock, I would say he was a sure bet to be in the cabinet whenever Mr. Graham decides to do a shuffle. With that sort of competition, it seems unlikely, but Mr. Miles has surprised us before. Keep an eye on this guy.
This will be the first in a series of profiles on rising stars inside and outside of the legislture in New Brunswick politics. Drop me a line or leave a comment if you would like to suggest someone.