Orlondo Taylor, PLP Paget East Branch Chairman; Dawn Simmons, the new PLP candidate for Paget East; and Premier Paula Cox. *Photo by Raymond Hainey
Orlondo Taylor, PLP Paget East Branch Chairman; Dawn Simmons, the new PLP candidate for Paget East; and Premier Paula Cox. *Photo by Raymond Hainey

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 6: PLP backroom veteran Dawn Simmons has been selected to take on OBA heavyweight Grant Gibbons in what was one of the safest Opposition seats on the island.

Ms Simmons, 49, the executive officer of the PLP, is to stand in Paget East. Dr Gibbons won the seat at the last General Election with 77 cent of the vote.

Ms Simmons said she did feel like “Daniel in the lion’s den”, but urged voters to think carefully about who they back when Premier Paula Cox calls the next election.

Ms Simmons added: “I am asking the voters of Paget East to consider taking another road. I look forward to listening to and learning from the concerns of the residents.”

She said that, from her work on the doorsteps, the economy figured high on the list of concerns among Paget East voters and across Bermuda.

Ms Simmons added: “Paget East voters have historically supported the UBP. In the coming election, I’m asking them to the road which will elect Dawn Simmons.

“One thing I’ve noticed when I look at the constituency of Paget East, it’s a very diverse constituency and from what I see, it’s a very welcoming constituency.”

Ms Simmons added that she had experienced the downturn first hand when she was made redundant from insurance firm XL three years ago, where she worked in IT training.

She added she had considerable experience working on canvassing in Sandys North for her “political father”, the late Eugene Cox, and through her work since as a party official.

Ms Simmons said: “I will have the ability to stand strong and just put myself out there.”

She added that as a PTA mom at Berkley Institute she is aware that, while young people who behave badly grab the headlines, many of Bermuda’s youngsters perform well.

Ms Simmons said: “One of things I would like to do is help the public realise there are a lot of positive young people I see walking into my house and there are others out there as well.”

Premier Paula Cox, speaking as Ms Simmons was introduced at PLP HQ Alaska Hall, said the latest candidate is “a stalwart PLP member with a long legacy of family who have worked for the PLP” and was campaign manager for the 2007 election.

She added: “She is very keen on the community – how we need to renew our community and actively involved in our public school system.”

Statement by Dawn Simmons

Good Day Mme Premier and Party Leader the Hon. Paula A. Cox, JP, MP.

I also recognize Constituency 22 Branch Chairman Mr. Orlando Taylor, Members of Cabinet, Parliament, and other members of the Branch, Party Executive and Party members and family and friends of both Const.22 and Const. 34

I consider it an honour and privilege to join team PLP to represent Constituency 22, Paget East.

When heading from the West End, no matter what road I take to get to work Paget East is the thoroughfare, it is the access to opportunities that we miss most times as we just pass on through. It is probably the times that we get stuck in traffic, there is a roadblock or we just want a change in scenery we pause to consider, should I take another road to reach my destination.

Today I am asking the voters of Paget East to consider “taking another road”.

Having dedicated myself to community service I look forward to first listening to and learning from the concerns and ideas of residents. From my canvassing thus far and my movements through this community I believe that our concerns are very similar. We now need to decide which is the best road to travel to reach our destination.

Sometimes we have to take the scenic South Shore route, to be inspired by the beauty and tranquility of the ocean as we consider the future and what is new on the horizon. We can feel proud as we look at the PLP promise made and kept; the beautiful housing complex of Loughlands and the ability of Bermudian families to become homeowners. As a graduate of the Bermuda College, Department of Hotel Technology; I get excited as I consider the role it played in my development and see the endless possibilities to think that my friend and classmate from The Berkeley Institute is the current President. We look through the trees at Bermuda College and again consider our future generation at Gilbert Institute.

Sometimes we detour onto Ord Road. As a PTA parent, I am drawn to consider Paget Primary School and the concerns and opportunities of students, parents, teachers and administration come to mind. I am also drawn to consider two of the great men of the PLP. As we approach the celebration of the PLP Founders’ day, I was excited to learn that the daughter of one of our great founders, Mr. Wilfred Allen, is one of our workers. Of course we will never forget the great contribution of Bro. Otti Simmons to the political, labour movements and currently as we work together through the Parish Councils. As a dedicated party worker I will also admire the example set by the Late Aurelia Burch who soldiered for the party in Paget East. We must always remember our great legacy and those who blazed the trails before us.

If I decide to travel along the Middle Road we see the business opportunities, the churches that provide the spiritual guidance, the educational opportunities for our toddlers and the community hub.

Harbour Road on a smooth day, reminds us that there are some solutions that will require swift action, even though the winding roads remind us that sometimes we must use caution. Harbour Road gives me the vision of my destination and the quickest way to get there as I head into the City.

As I have been driving the main streets and the side streets of this Constituency delivering Meals to our seniors as a Meals on Wheels volunteer, I never considered that one day I would be walking these same streets to listen to the concerns and ideas of everyone in the area.

Madame Premier and Party Leader, thank you for your guidance and for this opportunity. I am also grateful for Mr. Orlando Taylor, Chairman of PLP Const. 22 and the enthusiastic group of workers who have welcomed me with open arms as we consider the prospects of how to reach out to this community. Somehow last night as my Pastor, and I thank him for being here today, prayed for me and we chatted about today this somehow it brought to mind the story of Daniel in the Lion’s Den.

Today, I feel blessed to be surrounded family and friends who have influenced my life but I have to pause to pay special tribute to my mother Mrs. Betty Gilbert who lives the example of a virtuous woman and the two Eugenes who had the biggest influence in both my political and personal ambitions; the late Eugene Gilbert, my biological father and the late Eugene Cox, my political father. They lived the example that your name didn’t have to be in the main headline for the impact of your contribution to be felt. When the name Eugene is uttered you can immediately think of respect and responsibility. My son, Glenn “Swift” who is my sounding board and keeps me current. The rest of my family who have always been my cheerleaders, encouragers and sensitivity trainers.

Today I am asking the voters of Paget East consider taking a different road than they have traditionally taken. Paget East voters have historically supported the UBP. In the upcoming election, I am asking them to take the road that will elect Dawn Simmons of the Progressive Labour Party in the next General Election.