BATHURST Regional councillor Jess Jennings will be the Country Labor candidate for the federal seat of Calare, which includes Oberon, in 2019.
It will be the third time that Mr Jennings has put his hat in the ring for the seat, which has long been held by the National Party.
Andrew Gee retained Calare for the Nationals with ease at the last federal election in 2016, but was punished in Oberon in a result seen as an indication of the depth of feeling in the town about the NSW Coalition’s program of forced council mergers.
The Nationals suffered a 23 per cent swing against them on first preferences in the Oberon booth and a 27pc swing against them in the Burraga booth.
When Mr Jennings ran for the seat in the 2016 election, he had to resign from Bathurst Regional Council, a point that stuck with voters when he ran for Bathurst Regional Council again last year.
It was feared he wouldn’t stay the full term if given the opportunity to run at a state or federal level.
Mr Jennings said this time around he would stay put, as he understood he could legally hold both positions.
“I’ll be sticking as a councillor for the full term, regardless of what happens at the federal election,” he said.
“If I got voted in, I would sit as a councillor through the rest of the term.
“I certainly love being a councillor, so I would enjoy doing both jobs for a relatively short amount of time – basically 14 or 15 months – but whatever happens, I won’t be resigning from my council position in any circumstance.
“Even if the party asked me to, I would actually refuse.”
While he would stay on Bathurst Regional Council, Mr Jennings said he would reduce his workload in other areas, and therefore withdraw from the proposed Australian Milling Museum in Bathurst and suspend his consultancy business if elected.
Mr Jennings always said he would run for Calare three times, understanding that voters needed time to get to know people.