WHILE he was lobbying to get funds for his local surf club, Richard McGovern was bitten by the political bug.
Now he has put his hand up for the March State elections – as an Independent in the seat of Oxley.
The 35-year-old family man, who runs a sports and trophy shop in Wauchope, said when talking to Federal and State members he had been very disappointed with their response.
“That was when I started thinking ‘I can do something here – I can do better’,” Mr McGovern said.
“As an independent I don’t need to get embroiled in party politics.
“I’ve noticed that trying to get an answer from a member on a topic that doesn’t fit party policy is like pulling hens’ teeth.”
With a father who is a truck-driver travelling the Pacific Highway to the Queensland border three times a week, the road is without a doubt one of his big issues but that is not all.
“The highway is a disgrace but basically I want to represent everyone on all issues, minority or majority.
“No matter what the issue, I will promise them I can get an answer. It doesn’t matter if it’s positive or negative but they will get a response – I think people crave that.
“I’ve already written to the NSW minister for transport regarding the issue of seatbelts on rural school buses.”
Mr McGovern said Oxley had been a safe National Party seat for too long and his aim was to change that.
“My main goal is to either reduce Andrew Stoner’s numbers so we become a marginal seat or, alternatively, take the seat from him and get another independent voice in the NSW parliament.”
He said he had been impressed with the results the Independent for Port Macquarie Peter Besseling and Lyne MP Rob Oakeshotte had been able to achieve.
“You can’t say an Independent never achieves anything – some fantastic progress has been made by these blokes.
Mr McGovern is planning to be in Bellingen Shire on the weekend of February 19 and 20.
When it comes to other candidates, Jeremy Bradley, a farmer from the Hastings Valley, has confirmed his candidature for the Greens.
At the ALP’s head office a spokeswoman said yesterday that no candidate had been confirmed but the information would be released “in the next few weeks”.