I first met Anne-Marie Mullen about 27 years ago when her business House of Tara was just down the street for our offices, a shop that she would run for 30 years.
Since my office was just down the street I would often drop in and discuss the opportunities and challenges in Saint John. She like myself would get frustrated by what she/we considered lack of reasonable municipal progress.
More often than not I would take my 2 year old son Gregory in to the store. As we talked Greg would toddle over to the several stuffed wool lambs Anne- Marie had on display. He would pat them on the nose and Anne- Marie’s maternal instincts in microsecond would push politics aside and she would say; ” Do you like the lambies Gregory,”? On one occasion while we were in the store talking “progress and politics” Ann Marie walked over, picked up a “lambie and handed it to Gregory. Gregory now, had his very own lambie to take home.
Some years later Anne- Marie decide that she would try her hand at provincial politics in the 2003 election and then again she stepped into the 2010 municipal political area. One of the hot election issues was the Saint John employee pension plan. the pro and cons of “Defined Benefit Pension Plans” as opposed to “Defined Contribution pension Plans” Ann-Marie was very much in favour of defined contribution pension plans because she knew they removed some of the financial burden from Saint John’s heavily taxed property owners.
Since my partner Kim was assisting Ann-Marie with her campaign we knew that she was well ahead in the advanced polls. However 8.5 by 11 photo copied sheets stapled to stakes around the city can’t compete with the sea of 4 by 8 coloured smiling faces guarding every major intersection as if to say; PICK ME! PICK ME! .
Regretfully the best person does not always win in the political area, it’s the battle of the signs and the bucks pushing the candidate that far too often determines what interests will be served. But….. Ann-Marie was no quitter. After Councilor Donnie Snook resigned his seat on Common Council Anne-Marie took another kick at the political can, however it was not to be. Forever out there fighting for what was right and in the interests of the people Anne-Mare was appointed to the Saint John Police Commission in 2015 and became chair of the Commission in 2016.
It’s difficult to believe that this smiling, energetic crusader for the people is gone. Saint John will have to continue without the Irish Trooper.