HAWKESBURY councillor Peter Reynolds has confirmed that he will contest the seat of Hawkesbury in the 2019 NSW Election.
Cr Reynolds was elected to Council in 2016, after running an independent campaign, however, said he had been a card-carrying member of the Labor Party for many years.
He said at the time he ran for Council his membership had lapsed, but it was now renewed.
Cr Reynolds said he would continue to serve as an independent councillor, and said he would not be forced to caucus or vote along Labor Party lines.
“I will be able to remain independent. I don't have to follow any Labor party lines on Council,” he told the Gazette on Monday.
Cr Reynolds said he was running because the issues he felt strongly about could not be impacted enough at the local government level.
“The thought of running in the state election came about because there are issues I realised that are beyond the scope of Council to address,” he said.
“I realised to have a chance of rattling the cage of the government it would have to be via the Labor Party.”
Cr Reynolds said he considered running as an independent, but after assisting Kate Mackaness’ campaign in the previous state election said that was not a desirable option.
Cr Reynolds also said he was ‘realistic’ about his chances of winning the seat of Hawkesbury.
Hawkesbury has been a Liberal seat since 1950, when Bernie Dean ousted Labor’s Frank Finnan, who had been the member from 1941-1950.
Steven Pringle ran as a Liberal and was elected in 2003, but became an independent in 2006 after a falling out with the party.
As for his big issues, Cr Reynolds said Windsor Bridge and the recently announced Bells Line of Road-Castlereagh Connection were two huge ones.
“Windsor Bridge is a microcosm of everything that is wrong with this government,” he said.
“It is similar to the Bells Line of Road corridor issue. They've made a decision and now they are trying to juggle things around to justify that decision.”
He added the traffic experienced by those who live west of the Hawkesbury River was another thing he wanted to fix.
Cr Reynolds said he held no long-term political aspirations.
“I am not in it for a political career. I am 58, I was looking forward to retiring soon to be honest,” he said.
“For me it is all about representing the people of the Hawkesbury. I come from here and so does my family. The Hawkesbury will always come first to me.”
Both state Labor leader Luke Foley and Member for Macquarie Susan Templeman endorsed Cr Reynolds.
Ms Templeman said she thought Cr Reynolds would make an excellent representative for the Hawkesbury.
Mr Foley too said Cr Reynolds would be a good representative for the area.
“He won’t be afraid to fight for what the region needs,” he said via a prepared statement.
“He has been a passionate advocate for the community for years now.
“Pete’s commitment on a range of issues shows he will not be deterred from doing what he believes is right.”