Youth advocate and proud Indigenous leader Marc Sutherland wants to become Tamworth Regional Council's first Aboriginal councillor.
If elected, Mr Sutherland, 33, would be the youngest person on Tamworth's council.
He said improving the body's diversity would also improve its performance.
"We are all experts of our own experience," he said.
"We can't ignore the voices of the young people who are going to inherit the city of the future."
Standing for council has been a long-term aspiration, he said.
"It's not just come over me. Running for local council has been an aspiration of mine for probably a decade," he said.
"I've had conversations with other councillors, I've had conversations with executive for council, employees, the GM and voiced these thoughts."
Mr Sutherland has long been involved in local advocacy and activism, but is probably most well-known for leading the campaign for the city's Tamworth Regional Youth Centre, more commonly known as the Youthie.
The Commonwealth poured $10 million into the facility, which was built in the heart of Coledale, and into upgrades of infrastructure in other parts of the suburb.
Once the building opened he became its Youth Services Coordinator. He now works as Director of the Gomeroi Cultural Academy, a local Indigenous leadership and cultural training organisation.
But working outside the tent has only taken the cause so far, he said.
He said years of work on both youth and Indigenous council advisory groups had not won sufficient results.
"It hasn't created the change that community has been asking for," he said.
"For me, the best way that I know how to influence that change is to run for local council and to be part of the decision-making space."
About 11.3 per cent of the Tamworth population identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, according to the 2016 census. About 45 per cent are younger than 35. None of them are on council.
"If you look at the history of decision making, whether it be local government, state government, or federal government, you can see that there hasn't been a large amount of racial diversity or any diversity in general across the decision-making space," Mr Sutherland said.
"We know that having diversity across the decision-making spaces leads to better decisions.
"From an Aboriginal population, being so underrepresented, I think that it is time for a change."
Born in Tamworth, Mr Sutherland was in 2005 the city's young citizen of the year. He returned to the region after studying at university in Newcastle, and then living in Melbourne running the National Indigenous Youth Leadership Academy.
He would be the first Indigenous councillor on the modern council; Bob Faulkner was on the Parry council before amalgamation.
Mr Sutherland's wife, Amy Hammond, is due to have their second baby "any day now".
NSW local council elections will be held in September.
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