When Cody Jones addressed the National Indigenous Youth Parliament in May, it gave the 21-year-old the confidence and belief he needed to stand for Dubbo Regional Council.
Mr Jones announced last week that he would run in the East ward as the number two in a Country Labor ticket headed by Stephen Lawrence.
He described himself as “Dubbo born and bred” and said he had lived his entire life in East ward, which made choosing a ward easy.
He said if he was elected his goal on council would be to ensure people with a disability, the Indigenous community and young people were represented.
He said he made the decision “two or three weeks ago” to run, and it had come after a lot of discussions with people, including Mr Lawrence.
However it was his time in Canberra, where he received a standing ovation after a speech at the National Indigenous Youth Parliament, and had the chance to meet with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, that ultimately convinced Cody he wanted to run.
“Canberra has helped 100 per cent. It showed me we do need people to stand up at all levels of government and make sure the voiceless are given a voice,” Mr Jones said.
He has been a volunteer in community services for the last two years while obtaining his Certificate III and Diploma in Community Services Work. In 2016 he was named the TAFE Western Young Leader of the Year.
Mr Lawrence said he was proud to have Mr Jones on his team and said his disability advocacy would be an important addition to council.
“I am proud to be on a Country Labor ticket with Cody Jones. Cody is a passionate young local voice who will add much to council,” he said
“I look forward to campaigning with him and hopefully serving on council with him as a fellow representative for East ward.”
Mr Jones said running under the Country Labor banner was about being honest with the community. He dismissed any suggestion that it would mean either Mr Lawrence or himself would be dictated to by Labor headquarters.
“That definitely will not happen. Running for a party is about being honest with voters about where we stand,” he said.
Mr Jones said his other goals included keeping rates low and working on crime prevention.