The Nationals will contest the state seat of Cessnock after pre-selecting University of Newcastle business student Ash Barnham as its candidate.
Residents are scheduled to head to the polls for the NSW general election on 25 March.
And, the Hunter Valley’s latest contender will challenge sitting member Labor’s Clayton Barr for the role.
Mr Barnham, a retail worker, grew up in a small business and farming family.
He’s worked multiple jobs across the community from stocking shelves and delivering to doorsteps, to working in sales.
So, he says, he knows the value of hard work.
“I spent most of my high school years working in our family stores, talking to farmers, tradies and nurses,” Mr Barnham said.
“I delivered uniforms to schools, hospitals and aged care and I’ve seen first-hand what they do for our community.
“We deserve world-class health care, safer roads and great educational outcomes.
“The Hunter contributes so much to the NSW economy through local industry.
“But, I feel poor representation has led to our community being abandoned.
“I know how to work hard, I have experience working across the community, and I’m ready to work for the people of Cessnock.”
Mr Barnham also fired a shot at Mr Barr, stating the electorate needed an MP who would represent its interests in NSW Parliament.
“I believe workers in the Cessnock region are being taken for granted by a local member who is more focused on city issues than he is on battling for our needs,” he said.
“We need an MP who can put our people first, who can fight to fix our roads, and deliver better services.
“I’m standing up for Cessnock because we deserve our fair share.
“Our community has been forgotten about for too long.”
Deputy Premier and Nationals’ leader Paul Toole welcomed the pre-selection result.
“Ash is a hard-working Young National,” he said.
“He has wasted no time getting around the Cessnock electorate.
“So, I look forward to joining him on the campaign trail as we talk to locals about what the Nats can deliver for the community.”
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