Matt Wright is well known in the community as president of the Dubbo Chamber of Commerce and as a local business owner.
For the next few weeks though he'll step down from the chamber and campaign for election in the Dubbo Regional Council north ward, where he's hoping to put his years of experience to further use.
"It's something I've been considering for a while and I suppose I've had a little bit more time to think about it as a result of the delays we've experienced with the local government elections and COVID," he said. "I felt this was an opportunity for me to be able to step up and make some sort of positive contribution myself."
Mr Wright nominated in north ward which, like some other candidates, is not the ward he lives in. He said while there were benefits to the ward system including that it guaranteed two representatives from Wellington, he hoped this election would mark the end of it.
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He said he'd also like to see more independents on council, saying, "I've seen how the issues with some of the groups have unfolded over the last couple of years", but "there are some great people in amongst there who have done some good things for the community".
While he will step down as Chamber president until December four, Mr Wright said he would likely step back into the role post-election to see out the term until the AGM in early January.
"I hope that I can see out the remainder of the term but certainly during the campaign period I think the right thing to do is to step back from that public role as the president."
There are several issues he believes will be at the forefront for a new council including tackling high job vacancy rates and taking advantage of state government grants as the region heads into a "recovery phase" after another long COVID-induced lockdown.
"There continues to be issues around employment - we're hearing lots of stories from business owners that are telling us they're struggling to get people on the ground to fill jobs in everything from hospitality workers to transport workers to laborers, skilled workers, it's just across the board.
"The other thing is leveraging off the back of a lot of state government announcements that have recently been made and how best we embrace that and take advantage of those opportunities."
He said the opening of international borders should help ease job vacancies.
"There'll still be, I would hope, a continued push from the federal government to allow a lot of those visa holders to move into the regions and stay out here, and encourage them to be longer term members of the community."
Originally from Forbes, Mr Wright owns Money Quest - a local mortgage and finance broking company, and has been in Dubbo for around 25 years.
"I hope we end up seeing a really strong group of councillors emerge the other side of this election...and hopefully move forward with a bit of cohesion and the council can be something the community is proud to have them representing."
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