My name Dennis King and this is my story.
I grew up in Georgetown and graduated from Montague Regional High School in 1990.
After studying journalism in Ontario, I came back to PEI because it was home. I always knew I wanted to live, work and raise my family here. I want to do my part in making PEI the kind of place we all want to raise our families and contribute to the fabric of Island life.
My first full-time job was as a reporter with the Eastern Graphic in Montague. This job introduced me to Islanders from all walks of life and taught me the importance of listening, to ask the questions that need to be asked, as well to respect differing opinions in the pursuit of a fair and balanced account.
During my career as a journalist I worked with several PEI media outlets, including serving as editor of the Island Farmer and Atlantic Fish Farming aquaculture publication. I was honoured with several journalism awards for my work. I am especially proud of having received a Canadian Community Newspaper Award for Best Feature Story entitled “The Gift”.
Following the election of the Pat Binns Government in 1996, I was hired as a communications officer with the Department of Transportation and Public Works. I moved to the Department of Development and Technology and went to serve as the Director of Communications for Premier Binns. These years in government gave me a keen insight into the day to day operations of government and its important impact on citizens.
In 1999 I married Jana Hemphill of Summerside. We currently live with our three children – Jacob, Camdyn, and Callum – on a farm in Brookfield. Storybook Stables is our horse farm operation offering boarding facilities and riding lessons to Island youth. I am a proud husband and father. Jacob is a 3rd year honours student at Dalhousie University, where he studies musical theatre and opera. Camdyn, our 14 year old daughter, is a grade 9 French immersion student at East Wiltshire Junior High and plays bantam girls hockey with the North River Flames. Our youngest, Callum, is a grade 6 student at Central Queens School in Hunter River and is a goalie with the Mid-Isle Matrix Pee Wee AAA team.
In 2007, I accepted the position of Director Communications and Business Development with the Mi’kmaq Confederacy of Prince Edward Island. Serving in this position taught me so much about the valuable social and economic contributions PEI First Nations make to our province. I learned the importance of knowing and respecting our past and how it can influence our path toward a successful future.
I started my own public relations and communications consulting business in 2013. One of my core responsibilities was to serve as Executive Director of the PEI Seafood Processors Associations. When I assumed the position, there was a climate of hostility and suspicion between fishers and processors. I was happy to be part of a broad group, through a process of consultation and mutual respect that helped the PEI seafood industry become more united and more prosperous for everyone. We were able to bring all sides together by convincing them that more unites us than divides us. We recognized that we are too small as an industry with too many global competitors to be always fighting each other.
In 2014, my friend David Weale asked me to join him on stage as a storyteller at the PEI Mutual Festival of Small Halls. That one night in Malpeque profoundly changed my life. From there, I became a founding member of The Four Tellers storytelling group (along with David, Gary Evans and Alan Buchanan) which played to sold-out audiences for four summers at Georgetown’s Kings Playhouse. Through the power of stories, we were able to unite generations of Islanders, young and old, by celebrating our Island characters and their stories with pride and affection. But the laughter didn’t end with the show: I’ve also written two books of PEI stories – The Day They Shot Reveen and The Legend of Bubby Stevens.
Sports, particularly hockey and baseball, have been a lifelong passion for me. I believe strongly in the value of sport, both for the players who build important life skills through teamwork and competition, as well as for the community that comes out to cheer them on and take pride in their hometown team. Six years ago I got to fulfill a childhood dream when I was asked to serve as the play by play broadcaster for the UPEI Panthers Men’s Hockey team.
In 2018, I joined forces with the nationally-renowned marketing, communications and public affairs company M5. I provide strategic advice to improve working relationships and achieve mutually-beneficial outcomes.
Consensus-building, collaboration and cooperation have been central to my life and career. I have always believed that together we are stronger and these same principles will guide me as I embark on the next phase of my career in public service.