DESPITE branch president Roger Lucas’s denial, former council candidate Jason Shepherd has outed himself as one of the three local Labor Party members seeking pre-selection for the federal seat of Hume.
The Goulburn based mechanical engineer told the Post he wanted to run for parliament because he had passion for the region and wanted to see it progress.
He says he has a good standing within the local Labor Branch and if he gets the nod from his party, attracting population growth, advancing agriculture and creating new employment and educational opportunities will be his main objectives.
However, the father of two is under no illusions about the mammoth task that would lie ahead if he was given the chance to take on Angus Taylor. He said the anti-Labor sentiment in the mainstream press and the popularity of the current Member for Hume, Alby Schultz, would play against him.
But if he won endorsement he would seek to run a solid campaign based on facts, philosophy and policy as opposed to rampant negativity. He believes people are tired of the personal attacks in politics and says if he takes a tilt at Hume he’ll conduct himself in the same manner as he did in the Council elections.
“It is not in my nature to be negative,” he said.
“I am all about helping people, helping the community and working with the community to get things done. I’m not about bringing other people down to get ahead.”
Hume has long been safe conservative territory. Labor hasn’t held the seat since 1974, when Frank Olley lost to the Country Party candidate Stephen Lusher on preferences.
But Mr Shepherd believes this hasn’t benefited the region, pointing to the recent job cuts by the Liberal state government and lack of protest from other prominent Libs, including Mr Schultz.
He said potentially $4 million was lost from the local economy with the loss of some 50 jobs.
If he runs for Hume, he won’t run a slogan- driven head office campaign. His focus will be on the community.
“I grew up here,” he said.
“I was born in Crookwell, grew up in Binda and went to Crookwell High School. I have family in the district and I know what people want for their kids.
“They don’t want them to have the region (after school to find a job). They want decent healthcare. It is common sense but it tends to get lost in all of the party politics and the negativity and big promises.
“(For me) it is more about Hume than party politics. I’m from here and I’m about here, not what the party wants to achieve in the overall area.”
Mr Shepherd also has a background in agriculture and wants to see more research and development funding invested in Hume as well as the creation of skilled, high-paying local jobs.