With 35 years in provincial politics, 24 of those served at Queen’s Park, Kenora-Rainy River MPP Howard Hampton reflected on some of the high points of his political career, after having announced that he will not be seeking reelection this fall.
The first win
“The first time I won was a real high point,” Hampton recalled about being sent to Queen’s Park by voters back in 1987.
When he first ran back in 1977, “we were a bad third,” he recalled, and went from bad third to tying for second. Then in ’85, he noted they came within a few hundred votes of winning.
“1987 was gratifying, especially gratifying because of all the people the hundreds of people who came out and worked on the campaign,” he said.
NDP forms the government
When the NDP won government in 1990, it was “very special” Hampton said.
“For many of the people in the room, that was something that they’d worked at for all their life,” he said. “And many of those people are gone now.
“I just remember some of those people that were in that room that night had worked literally all their life, all their life to elect the NDP to government,” added Hampton.
1996 leadership win
While Hampton served as leader of the NDP from June 1996 to March 2009, he said that his unpredicted leadership win was another highlight of his political career.
“The Southern Ontario media said it would be one of the three candidates from Southern Ontario,” he recalled about him being dismissed as not having a chance.
“Some of those folks think that they’re the smartest people in the world, and that they know everything. To see the look of shock on their face—there was something gratifying about that,” he said.
Hampton stressed that the things which stands out from his political career are those involving ordinary people—not the political triumphs.
For example, he recalled people coming into the constituency office looking for help because they were turned down for their Canada pension—and working to go through their case and helping them receive CP.
“It makes a difference in somebody’s life—It makes a real difference in somebody’s life,” he stressed about this sort of work for constituents.