LEE WATTS, the popular former mayor of the Upper Hunter Shire, has announced she will be running as an independent for State Parliament at the next election in early 2015.
Ms Watts faces the daunting task of trying to unseat Nationals MP George Souris, who has represented the people of the Upper Hunter in State Parliament since 1988.
“I am not interested in representing a political party, I am only interested in representing the people of the Upper Hunter and I’ll be taking my direction from them,” she said.
“Although I will be the underdog, I’ve never been afraid of hard work and I’m prepared to earn every bit of that seat in Parliament through gaining the trust and support of our community.
“I’ve thought long and hard about this and after all these years working in the community I realised the only way things can really change for the better is to step up and make that change in State Parliament.”
Ms Watts said she had decided not to run for re-election as mayor of Upper Hunter Shire to focus on her bid for State Parliament.
“I will remain a councillor, but I will be able to dedicate the time that the people of the Upper Hunter deserve,” she said.
“People have asked why I have announced this more than 18 months out from the election and it is because I am genuine about working hard throughout that time speaking to as many people as possible throughout the Upper Hunter electorate about what matters to them most.
“Working hard within the community has always been more my style than a superficial political style blitz campaign at the last minute.
“People’s feedback about me running has been really positive, so now I just need to go out and earn that seat.”