Independent candidate for Tamworth Mark Rodda says his state government campaign won’t interfere with his local government duties.
In his second-term on Tamworth Regional Council, last week Cr Rodda announced he would stand for the seat of Tamworth in the 2019 election.
“I won’t be shirking on my responsibilities as a councillor,” he said.
“I’m a councillor all the way and I’m a councillor until September 2020 if I’m unsuccessful with this.”
If Cr Rodda wins the state election, due to be held on March 23 next year, he would have to resign as councillor.
That in turn could force a by-election to fill the vacant seat, depending on what council and the Office of Local Government decide.
“It would be about 18 months until the next council elections,” Cr Rodda said.
“I think they probably would call an election, but it’s almost getting to that point in the term that they could leave it vacant until the next election.”
After six years on council, Cr Rodda said he was ready for the jump to state politics.
“I think it’s the next step and often a lot of local government councillors end up either state or federal MPs,” he said.
Cr Rodda was particularly inspired by the late Ted Mack, who served as a mayor of North Sydney, before going on to represent both the state and federal seats of North Sydney, and remaining an independent at all levels of government.
Cr Rodda said while there could potentially be some conflicts of interest along the way, he’d “manage those at the time”.
“If there’s an issue we need to vote on that may somehow be impacting on my candidacy as an independent, I’d consider that before I voted and leave the chamber,” he said. Cr Rodda was a Nationals member for well over two decades, but left the party in 2015 after becoming disillusioned with a number of policy decisions that were “harmful to our rural community”.
“Ultimately, the good thing about being an independent is that I’m not beholden to party donors or vested interests, which these days seem to be more important to the party than the welfare of the electorate,” he said.
“Recently, across the country, both at a state level and federal level, voters have shown they are willing to buck major parties in favour of an independent.”