Ben Franklin MLC has announced he hopes to run for the state seat of Ballina at the next election.
Ben Franklin MLC has announced he hopes to run for the state seat of Ballina at the next election. Marc Stapelberg

Candidate puts his hand up to challenge Tamara Smith

UPDATE 11.37am: FORMER Ballina MP Don Page and Ballina mayor David Wright have backed Ben Franklin MLC as a hopeful Nationals candidate.

Mr Franklin this morning announced he hopes to run in the next state election, due to be held in March next year.

To do so, he will first have to be pre-selected by the Nationals.

While Mr Franklin said there had been "a lot of support" for his candidacy, nominations will close next month and a candidate will be formally allocated in October.

Mr Franklin said he was "incredibly proud" of what he's achieved as an MLC for Northern NSW.

He said the drone program assisting surf lifesavers, halting plans for a ski jump at Lennox Head and helping the Hope Haven Women and Childen's Refuge in Ballina were among his proudest achievements as an MLC.

He said while he hadn't planned to run for State Parliament, he was hopeful this could allow him to do more for the local community.

"I wanted to be a member of the Upper House, I wanted to focus on the entire state," he said.

"But I love this community, and this community has come to me and said they feel let down by the current representation.

"They want a voice inside government that is going to be a passionate advocate for them each and every day.

"They want someone that is going to turn up and listen to them and work with them and I believe I can be that voice."

Mr Franklin said he hoped to emulate former MP Don Page, if given the chance.

Mr Page said :"I've been watching Ben for the last three years and I'm very impressed by how community-focused he is." 

"I've been so impressed with that he's been able to achieve in the last three years from the Upper House.

"If Ben's given the opportunity to be the member for  Ballina, he'll make an excellent member.

"He'll deliver for this region and he understands the aspirations of the people here."

Ballina mayor David Wright said his support for Mr Franklin was tied not to his political party, but his commitment to the region.

"I'm here today supporting a person running for election because (he) has just been delivering so much for our community," Cr Wright said.

"I support, on behalf of our shire, the person … who can deliver infrastructure and help a wide variety of citizens.

"Ben has already delivered millions and millions of dollars of assets.

"Our local member, Tamara (Smith) is a fantastic person. She cares about people.

"But she cannot deliver. She's not in the process of being able to deliver the huge amount of infrastructure we need."

 

Original story: BEN Franklin has announced his plans to run for Nationals preselection in the seat of Ballina at the next state election.

The Nationals Parliamentary Secretary for Northern NSW, Mr Franklin was flanked by Don Page and Ballina mayor David Wright, to make the announcement in Ballina this morning.

Mr Franklin insisted he previously had no plans to vie for a seat in State Parliament, but said he'd been swayed by pressure from the community.

"I have loved servicing the Ballina and Byron Shires as a Member of the Legislative Council for the past three and a half years," he said.

"I believe working alongside the community over that time, we have achieved outcomes together which have benefited this entire region.

"I was not planning to do this but have been convinced after repeated requests from local residents and community organisations.

"They are hungry to have a community voice inside Government who is actually at the table when decisions are made and can advocate every day on their behalf.

"I believe I can be that voice."



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