New councillor: How motherhood inspired decision to run
WITH her election campaign in full swing Jade Wellings would sit in a in a room of wall to wall post it notes, corflutes, calendars and flyers.
In one hand she'd dial the numbers on her phone to return the first of many calls and use the other to express enough milk to keep five-month old Josie happy while she attended two more appointments and a Meet the Candidates forum in the evening.
When she announced her candidacy there was no hesitation in choosing a picture of her young family as the first image many would see.
The question of whether it would be difficult to raise three young children and be a councillor would never be asked of a male colleague or rival and in any event, she knew her maternal instinct was among her greatest strengths.
The same insight which had caused her to set up a fitness bootcamp for pregnant and post-natal women and share a memorial campaign picture of herself with a screaming, tired baby at the Hervey Bay carols mid-campaign, would be an asset in a role where liveability and safety for families is a key aspect in decision making.
Time spent at the park and on the Esplanade in the heat watching kids dart in different directions and disappear in seconds despite the best efforts to keep a close eye, would inspire a want to explore more fenced playgrounds and shade over these areas, open spaces and bike paths.
Speaking to the Chronicle ahead of her first Mothers' Day in local government, Cr Wellings said her children had played a "huge role" in her motivation to put her hand up.
"I would love nothing more than for them to grow up and make the choice to stay living here," she said
"I want to help shape our region and contribute towards making the Fraser Coast a better place to live with opportunities for our youth.
"Those that know my family know that I have a wonderful husband who is my equal, we have always shared the responsibility of our children.
"Our decision for me to take on this role for the community means that my husband can spend some valuable time taking the primary role with the children, which is something not many fathers get the opportunity to do."
Cr Wellings secured Division Five with 60.36 per cent of the vote and was the only woman to be elected.
She's confident in her resume, which includes a business degree and significant management experience in real estate, fitness and a network of worker's and holiday accommodation, and says that "regardless of gender it is an absolute honour to be representing my community and I am humbled by the support I received during the election".
She is however acutely aware of the position she finds herself in.
"I feel a responsibility to women, and in particular young women, to be a good leader, a strong voice and to demonstrate that you can be a good mother and also do meaningful work at the same time," she said
To the smallest people in her house being mum is more than enough but they've been introduced to Cr Wellings too even if they don't quite understand she's not yet in ScoMo's league.
"I have explained the three levels of government in a very basic way," she said
"Last night Tyler said to me 'Mummy, since you are one of the governments can you please open the playgrounds?'.
"I hope that I can one day drive them around and point out things in the community and tell them about my involvement in making those things happen."