Impressive Candidates contest Cootamundra - NSW Nationals

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Impressive Candidates contest Cootamundra

It’s a dream-team field of candidates vying for the Cootamundra pre-selection. The breadth of qualifications ranges from nursing, veterinary, commerce, journalism and law; the careers cover everything from corporate marketing, industrial relations and small businesses to university administration, policing, veterinary medicine, local government, journalism, retail and farming. The four candidates and their families hail from all corners of the Cootamundra electorate. Some live in town, some on farm, but every candidate has created a family, business and life for themselves in the region.

And for the first time in our history, all candidates in a contested preselection process are women.

Each has strong background to take over the reins from Katrina Hodgkinson, who has faithfully served Southern NSW for 18 years.

Ms Hodgkinson said she was thrilled with the lineup of talented locals.

“Each and every one of the candidates would make an exceptional Member of Parliament” she said.

“I encourage all local Party members to turn up to preselection and have their say. Locally, this will be the most significant meeting for the foreseeable future” she said.

The successful candidate will be selected by a plebiscite of all National Party members in Cootamundra on August 27.

State Director of The Nationals, Nathan Quigley, paid tribute to Ms Hodgkinson’s service to Southern NSW.

“It’s a fitting tribute to Katrina Hodgkinson’s 18 years of strong representation that such an impressive field of candidates have put their hand up to carry on her legacy”.

“I can guarantee that our candidate will be the only one chosen democratically by hundreds of local members” Mr Quigley said.

“At a time when the other parties are parachuting in career politicians picked by Sydney, every local member of The Nationals will have a say in who their representative will be with no outside interference” He said.

The five candidates vying for preselection are (in surname alphabetical order):

Stephanie Cooke


Image courtesy of Hollie Bradford

After growing up in Temora, Stephanie returned to the town after a successful career in Sydney which included stints in marketing, customer relations and branding for companies such as Allied Mills and Coca Cola and rose to the rank of Executive Director with the Baking Association of NSW at just 21. Steph now runs her successful floristry business, Native Botanical, which recently won NSW Florist of the Year. Describing herself as a “fighter”, Stephanie is practical, persistent and logical and wishes to use her business acumen to ensure service delivery for the Cootamundra electorate.

Miriam Dayhew


Currently the Ombudsman for Charles Sturt University and Head of Campus for Wagga Wagga CSU, Miriam had a long career in nursing and midwifery before moving into health administration, where she participated in the legislation and on-the-ground-roll-out of regionalising Queensland Health. Miriam now works to maintain the culture and ethos of the CSU campus and is active in pushing for better health resources in the regions. Miriam wants to build on the infrastructure momentum in Cootamundra to create vibrant towns and villages throughout the electorate.

Ruth Fagan


A resident of Cowra for 34 years, Ruth is a former journalist who now runs her successful small retail business The Closet. Ruth is also a long-time Councillor for Cowra and is a member of the Joint Regional Planning Panel and the Central West Development Panel, and she believes in developing stronger relationships between Local Government and State Government. Having owned small businesses in the tourism industry, Ruth sees this sector as presenting real opportunities for the Cootamundra electorate as the region diversifies.

Wendy Tuckerman


Born in Cowra, Wendy spent 14 years as a detective with the Australian federal Police before returning to the Cowra area. Since then she has actively engaged with her community and has spent 13 years in Local Government as a Councilor, Mayor and Administrator. She has been involved in regional planning and currently sits on the Boards of the South West Slopes Fire Services Committee and is involved with early childhood education in the Hilltops local government area. Wendy considers the challenges associated with representation as an opportunity to find solutions for communities.  

The National Party, unlike other parties we share the Legislative Assembly with, is the only party where voting rights belong exclusively to the local members, with the nomination phase open to all Nats members who want to stand up and keep regional voices heard in the City.

The transparency of our Party processes in conjunction with the strength of our values and our commitment to encouraging female representation in politics means qualified women will continue to put their hands up to represent their communities on the political stage.  

Preselection will take place on August 27th with at date for the by-election yet to be set. 

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