Political-watchers would be forgiven for thinking Trent Wotherspoon had cloned himself.
The 10-year Regina NDP MLA seems able to be in several places at once right across the province.
In any given day his social media feeds can show him at a breakfast meeting in Regina, a lunchtime event in Saskatoon and an evening door-knocking in Swift Current. And if he can squeeze it in, a sled ride with his son in the morning or a bedtime story at night.
“It is a remarkable process, it takes a lot of oneself,” Wotherspoon said. “Having William, that addition in our life, has meant driving home really late at night, a lot of nights coming in in the early mornings, it is important to see him a little bit before I go back out in another direction.”
This is the second-time Wotherspoon has campaigned for the top job. He lost in the first round to Cam Broten in 2013.
“It’s been a really special journey, the conversations are heartening and heartwarming stories of the people of our province, this has been a good process,” Wotherspoon said about his decision to run for the NDP leadership.
No doubt his wife, Stephanie, would like to see a bit more of him.
Much like a job interview, Wotherspoon was asked about his strengths and weaknesses and how they would impact him in the role.
“A lot of people tell me I have strength as a team-builder, of bringing people together, connecting with people from all walks of life. I think it is very important in the work that is ahead of us as a party and as a province,” Wotherspoon said.
“My weakness is I’m a terrible filer, my desk is organized to me, although it doesn’t look that way to others. Quite often you need a grain shovel to clean the top of my desk.”
On his travels across the province and in hearing the stories from different communities, Wotherspoon has put universal mental health and addictions services front and centre in his campaign.
“Making sure that we have urgent, wrap around supports from the moment that someone indicates that they need some help. I have been amazed with the connection that people have to the importance of delivering on this front,” Wotherspoon explained.
“I was in Whitewood visiting with one of the local business and I thought maybe the new hikes to PST would be the biggest issue and certainly they were of concern, but the common ground found there was that we really have to deliver universal mental health and addictions services and a real recognition around the isolation in rural communities as well.”
Being a former teacher, Wotherspoon is also focused on how a government he might lead would enrich classrooms and strengthen Saskatchewan’s Crowns corporations. And he added it is the people of the province that continue to inspire him in those goals.
“I think of hard-working moms doing everything they can to put food on the table, people living with disabilities on the tightest budgets, young people facing challenges that are hard and real, mental health challenges, abuse, neglect, racism,” Wotherspoon said. “In Saskatchewan we have such an incredible spirit and value around volunteerism and helping each out and cooperation and I am inspired by those communities that rally to the side of families that are in need or communities in crisis. It is the story of Saskatchewan.”
Wotherspoon may lose a few NDP supporters if they knew his playlist features the music of Colter Wall, son of former premier Brad Wall.
“Hey we are all proud of Colter Wall, he is a real talent and it is fun watching him go places,” Wotherspoon laughed.
When asked what historical figure he would want to sit down for dinner with it was no surprise the NDP MLA chose former premier Tommy Douglas.
“He’s somebody who touched the lives of so many across the province,” Wotherspoon explained. “He’s somebody who to me – who understood the practical realities of people and was able to respond and challenges with a practical solution at the same time as moving big vision pieces forward.”
Wotherspoon hopes to make a similar impact during his time as a politician and he hopes, as leader.
“The reason why I’m motivated to serve as premier is I love this province. I love taking time hearing the stories of our province from the people and the communities that make it strong and it is an important time in Saskatchewan,” Wotherspoon concluded. “I look forward to reaching to reaching out to all across Saskatchewan and I guess my message to the people of Saskatchewan is that we need you as a province.”