Cootamundra electorate hopeful Stephanie Cooke has pledged to tread the footsteps of predecessor Katrina Hodgkinson and press for greater regional development.
It comes after Temora-born Cooke was unveiled as the National Party pre-select for the upcoming Cootamundra by-election.
Ms Cooke said her victory was a shock but vowed to continue the platform laid by Ms Hodgkinson’s extensive tenure.
“My life just changed in the blink of an eye with that announcement … it’s a moment I’ll never forget.”
“Katrina has done so much for the community and I hope to keep working in her footsteps,” she said.
The former Sydney corporate turned local businesswoman saw off a spirited all-female field including university administrator Miriam Dayhew, Cowra retailer Ruth Fagan and Hilltops Council figurehead Wendy Tuckerman to seal the Nationals ticket for November.
Ms Cooke’s pre-selection was announced on Sunday with the outgoing Hodgkinson congratulating her prospective successor.
“Steph knows the issues that matter to locals, because she lives them daily,” she said.
“I know that she’s made of the right stuff to stand up for Cootamundra.”
Speaking with the Herald on Monday, Ms Cooke used the opportunity to address growing pressure from the Shooters, Farmers and Fishers Party in the region.
“I will not be taking this electorate for granted,” she said.
“We know from Orange that anything can happen.
“Importantly, I don’t want this electorate and it’s representation to be left in the hands of people who think it’s okay to give guns to 10-year-olds.”
The 41-year-old listed a number of key areas she wished to focus upon including regional education, hospitals and aged care.