From the classroom to the legislature

By Dale Johnson Posted: May 17, 2016 6:00 a.m.

Tina Beaudry-Mellor is settling into her new constituency office.
Tina Beaudry-Mellor is settling into her new constituency office. Photo: U of R Photography

Tina Beaudry-Mellor is adjusting to a big career change, as the new Member for the Legislative Assembly for the Regina University riding.

Beaudry-Mellor, who has been an instructor in Political Studies, was elected to the provincial legislature in last month’s election. Her last day at the University of Regina was April 29.

“I grew up on this campus. I first walked in the doors in 1990 and have been here on and off ever since in a number of capacities: as an undergrad, grad, post grad, CCE employee and faculty member. I know this institution well and have a deep love for it. I will always be an alumni.”

Beaudry-Mellor uses a sports analogy when describing how she will go from teaching students about the political system to being an elected politician.

“You can be an armchair quarterback for years, but it doesn't mean you can throw a ball yourself, let alone be a receiver (which is what we are). But to take this football analogy a step further, I have studied the playbook and understand the game and I am willing to put in the training time on and off the field to become effective at my position. It will just take some time to get there.”

Although she will have a new position and new perspective, she’s very familiar with the politics of Saskatchewan.

“As an instructor, I made a pedagogical decision some time ago to try to connect the ‘real world’ of politics to the theories we take in the academy. I have found that if you want young people to engage in politics and political discussions, you need to illustrate why it matters in their day to day lives and how this connects to what we are learning. This is why I invited elected leaders at all levels and from all political stripes to my classes as well - it was a very important part of restoring the image of politics and politicians. It was also why I chose to get active on social media to talk about politics - I wanted to ‘popularize’ it.”

And she says another area that she’s familiar with – yet will change in her new role as MLA – is her relationship with reporters.

“One area of strength for me, I suppose, is that I have been watching and commentating on politics in the media for a long time and have done considerable public speaking. I am therefore a lot more at ease dealing with the media or speaking in front of an audience. However, in the past I was consulted by members of the media as a so-called ‘expert’ and now I will be scrummed. That relationship will be different.”

She has been appointed to the Standing Committee which deals with health, education and social services, as well as the Advisory Committee of the Saskatchewan Legislative Internship Program.

Just weeks into her career as a politician, Beaudry-Mellor has found it to be what she calls a humbling experience.

“Sitting in a room full of our 51 caucus members, many of whom have fought and won multiple elections and who have held multiple senior portfolios, is a bit intimidating, but I have found everyone to be so welcoming. The Premier told us we were like part of the family, and I have certainly felt that. I am fortunate that I had already built relationships with a few members as a result of my work as a political scientist, so the transition has been easier,” she says.

And Beaudry-Mellor is looking forward to getting down to work and speaking on behalf of her constituents – including those at the University of Regina.

“The U of R is a very important constituent of mine and I believe a partner in our plan to keep Saskatchewan strong. I will do my best to listen and learn about the concerns of the campus community just as I will for all of my constituents and I will share those concerns with my colleagues when appropriate.”