The Leader has asked each election candidate it profiles to bring an item that means something to them; whether it be personal, symbolic or representative of a professional achievement, and give the public an explanation why.
IMMEDIATE past chairman of the Nationals Party, egg farmer Bede Burke, has put his hand up to stand for Tamworth Regional Council.
During Mr Burke's 2014 to 2019 term as the chairman of the party organisation, he was forced to help manage a series of crises, including a local by-election driven by Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce's citizenship status.
The role is an unpaid voluntary position, but is nonetheless a central one.
Mr Burke said he'd had "very close relationships" with three deputy prime ministers, three deputy premiers and scores of other politicians.
"I guess what it shows is we're committed to the political environment be it Nationals or independent or whatever," he said.
"My greatest respect is for people who've done the same in different parties."
The city doesn't have much time for party politics on council, he said, and he does not intend to stand as part of any ticket.
"I certainly wouldn't bring [party politics] by way of saying I'm a badged Labor or National or Liberal person. Council to me is very different in how it operates," he said.
Mr Burke said his political experience means he brings more to the table than someone without the same sort of "robust engagement with the next levels of parliament, state and federal".
The lifetime local said he made a decision to stand for council as part of a lifetime of service in a range of volunteer positions, from the president of a local swimming club, to the chair of his industry's peak body.
The egg farmer said he has "Tamworth in my blood".
Asked to bring an item of significance with him, Mr Burke chose a chicken over an egg.
"I guess I'm know as the egg man in Tamworth but this is a bit more meaningful than that," he said.
"People identify you by who you are what you do do, but I'm not just one-dimensional, I'm involved in agriculture, cropping, sheep and I have done a lot of other things in terms of business and industry, with the National Party and the Tamworth cooperative that ties me into a strong regional community."
He said he wants to work with councillors of all political stripes and favours consensus-based decision-making.
He would also be among the few businessmen on council - and he'd also be a voice for agriculture on the council, he said.
Fellow National Russell Webb is currently the only farmer serving on the council who will stand for re-election.
Mr Burke said the growth of the city, which he strongly supports, would create the potential for land use conflict, which needs to be managed.
"There's going to be a lot of challenges for rural land use conflict with regards to town growing. We need town to grow in the right areas," he said.
"Town has gone south with the Longyard development areas out into the estates behind Windmill Hill and Moonbi, Kootingal. Our part of the world [Bective] is probably the next frontier."
The Nationals Party chairman oversees the governance of the organisational element of the party, which campaigns at elections and develops policy and is separate from the politicians elected on its behalf.
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