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Stephanie Cooke announced as Nationals candidate for Cootamundra

Stephanie Cooke announced as Nationals candidate for Cootamundra

Today local members of The Nationals in the Cootamundra electorate selected Steph Cooke to be their candidate in the upcoming by-election in Cootamundra, following Katrina Hodgkinson’s announcement of her retirement.

Steph will seek to take over the reins from Katrina, who has faithfully served Southern NSW for over 18 years.

Katrina Hodgkinson said she was thrilled that local members of The Nationals had their say in the pre-selection.

“Steph is a fantastic candidate – running businesses across the electorate, with florists in Cootamundra, Young and Temora, she travels extensively and spent a long time dealing with locals at the most important junctions in their lives – weddings, funerals, when they are sick and when they welcome new babies into their family.”

Ms Cooke’s business ‘Native Botanical’ also won NSW ‘Florist of the Year’ earlier this year and she’s previously advocated on behalf of small bakers across country NSW.

“Steph cut her teeth standing for small bakeries all across NSW against big unions and vested interests as the Executive Director of the Baking Industry Association of NSW, so she knows how to fight for country people” she said.

“A long-time local, Steph has lived 37 of her 41 years in the district. She knows the issues that matter to locals, because she lives them daily,” she said.

Steph is married to Keith Duran, principal of Young High School and her parents are life-long members of the Nationals. Both are from the Temora / West Wyalong areas.

Katrina said that Steph would be a real fighter who would stand up for the electorate no matter what.

“I have known Steph for a number of years now and she’s very determined, intelligent and considerate person.”

“I know that she’s made of the right stuff to stand up for Cootamundra, and make sure our voice is heard.

Ms Cooke said that she was looking forward to hitting the campaign trail by getting on the road.

“I’ll be getting out there and speaking to everyone over the next couple of months, in all our small towns, all our country communities.”

“I’m excited to be given the opportunity to represent the towns that I grew up in, and the people that I love”.

A date is yet to be set for the upcoming by-election.

Editor’s Note: After eighteen-and-a-half years representing the electorates of both Burrinjuck and Cootamundra, Katrina Hodgkinson announced her retirement from State Parliament on July 31.

During her career, Ms Hodgkinson served four years in the NSW Cabinet as the Minister for Small Business, and as the first female Minister for Primary Industries, Lands and Water. She also served as Assistant Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Parliamentary Secretary for Southern NSW and eight years in the Shadow Cabinet.

She won Burrinjuck in 1999, a seat that had never previously been held by The Nationals, and subsequently held it in 2003, 2007 and 2011, and then won the newly formed seat of Cootamundra at the 2015 state election.