Riding to watch: Sussex area will elect first new MLA in 14 years

Click to play video: 'Sussex-Fundy-St. Martins residents say they intend to keep the riding blue'
Sussex-Fundy-St. Martins residents say they intend to keep the riding blue
WATCH: Another key riding to keep an eye on, as election day draws closer, is Sussex - Fundy - St. Martins. The area is about to replace MLA Bruce Northrup, who's announced his retirement after 14 years in the legislature – Aug 20, 2020

A riding to watch, Sussex-Fundy-St. Martins will choose a new MLA when New Brunswickers head to the polls on September 14.

Bruce Northrup announced back in June that he would retire from provincial politics in the fall after 14 years as a Progressive Conservative MLA.

This would have triggered a by-election in the riding – had the entire province not entered an election.

Read more: All our New Brunswick election 2020 coverage

When Northrup was elected back in 2006, the riding was still referred to as Kings East.

Before he won the seat, the riding flipped back and forth between the PCs and Liberals since Pete Dalton won the seat for the Grits in 1987.

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Many residents tell Global News, they’re planning to keep it blue in September no matter who Northrup’s PC predecessor is.

Bruce Northrup has been the MLA in the Sussex area since 2006. Global News

“Higgs got us through to where we are,” one Sussex, N.B., local said. “I think he should go back in.”

New Brunswick Progressive Conservative Leader Blaine Higgs shocked the region earlier this year when his government made moves that would see six rural emergency rooms close overnight as a cost-saving measure – including the one in Sussex.

Even more surprising to political watchers: when Northrup, the party whip, stood against his government’s plan.

Click to play video: 'PC MLA Bruce Northrup warns he won’t support N.B. healthcare changes'
PC MLA Bruce Northrup warns he won’t support N.B. healthcare changes

On the campaign trail, Higgs is now saying that plan is completely off the table – but residents still worry it could resurface.

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“Somebody else might come in and decide to shut them down again,” another Sussex resident tells Global News.

Others say issues like the environment, property taxes and communication with residents are top of mind.

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