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After four years away, Danny McNeely is back as Sahtu MLA

Danny McNeely is seen in a supplied photo
Danny McNeely. Photo: Supplied

Danny McNeely says his first order of business will be to “finish what was started” after defeating incumbent Paulie Chinna to once more become the Sahtu MLA.

McNeely held the seat from 2015 to 2019 before narrowly losing to Chinna.

On Tuesday, Elections NWT’s unofficial results show he received 372 votes to Chinna’s 226. Delphine Pierrot received 207.

McNeely earlier said he wants to focus on improving healthcare and education infrastructure in the Sahtu, pushing to complete construction of the Great Bear River bridge, and addressing high living costs.

The summer’s low water on the Mackenzie River has dominated recent political discussion in the region after resupply barges weren’t able to travel. Community leaders in Norman Wells have been pushing for more urgency to complete the all-season Mackenzie Valley Highway, even welcoming NWT Senator Margaret Dawn Anderson to the town to discuss the subject.



“If you look back at the last eight years, we had four under my administration. We had many successful stories, projects and accomplishments,” McNeely told Cabin Radio after this week’s victory. He has said he will seek “an aggressive plan” to get more work on the highway done.

Without going into detail, McNeely mentioned other “very hurtful” concerns he heard while speaking with community members during the latest campaign.

“It was very sad to hear the stories [of what] our government should be doing to help the individuals out in the communities,” he said.

Chinna and Pierrot could not be reached for comment. Chinna served in cabinet during her four-year term, including spells as the minister for municipal and community affairs and as the housing minister.



McNeely, a longtime Norman Wells resident who was born and raised in Fort Good Hope, said he wanted to thank voters for “having trust in my leadership.”

Elections NWT’s data shows he was the leading candidate of the three in all communities, and he received more than half of the vote in Norman Wells, Délı̨nę and Colville Lake.

“I respect the decision of the Sahtu region,” he said.

“I look forward to working with the communities to address the many, many challenges that we are facing.”