Former NSW MP Katrina Hodgkinson is gunning for an unlikely lazarus-like political resurrection.
Just 18 months after walking away from NSW state politics citing family reasons, Ms Hodgkinson has declared her hand in the blue ribbon federal seat of Gilmore - a seat she has declared as "Nationals heartland".
"Gilmore serves large country towns, small country towns and villages, each with their own community groups and issues - that's why it's Nationals heartland," Ms Hodgkinson said.
The last time The Nationals held the seat of Gilmore was more than a quarter of a century ago when John Sharp was the member from 1984 to 1993.
Ms Hodgkinson was announced as The Nationals candidate for the seat of Gilmore last Thursday at Moruya Airport with deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack by her side.
She will be running against Warren Mundine, who was endorsed as the Liberal candidate by Prime Minister Scott Morrison after Liberal MP Ann Sudmalis announced she was quitting politics.
"I have a lot more to contribute and I understand I have a lot of work to do," Ms Hodgkinson said.
"It will be an uphill battle and very challenging but the reception so far has been fantastic.
"People are happy they have an alternative to vote for.
"I don't have my L-plates on if I'm elected.
"I've got the runs on the board when it comes to delivering for the seat of Gilmore already.
"In my role as Primary Industries Minister I re-located jobs out of Sydney into Nowra as part of a decentralisation strategy for the department of fisheries."
Ms Hodgkinson, who has a place in Nowra (Gilmore) as well as a family farm at Berrima in the Southern Highlands, said the timing was right.
"Did I miss it? Yes. Did I want to go back to State Politics? No," Ms Hodgkinson said.
"We needed to re-group as a family, that was a priority for us...but I've had a good rest and my family backs my decision."
Ms Hodgkinson said campaigning for the Princes Highway to be dual-carriage was high on her agenda.
"There have been far too many fatalities on this highway, which is the lifeblood of the election," she said.
"Without this road people can't get from point A to point B."
Ms Hodgkinson said she wanted to see co-contribution on the highway upgrade from both State and Federal Governments.
With dairy a major agricultural industry in her electorate, she has committed to fighting to ditch $1/litre milk and will be meeting again with dairy farmers next week with Special Envoy for Drought Assistance and Recovery, Barnaby Joyce.
She said the drug 'ice' was a big problem in the seat as well as mental health, health, disability and employment services.
"I'm looking forward to welcoming Nationals Ministers into the electorate of Gilmore, now that it is firmly part of Nationals territory," she said.
Ms Hodgkinson added people knew if there was an issue she would "stand by them" like she did over the greyhounds debate.
"I crossed the floor on that issue and lost my position," she said.
"I will back my community if I am put to the test."
(Information sourced Australian Electoral Commission)
The seat of Gilmore covers an area along the coast from Kiama in the north to Tuross Head in the south.
Towns and suburbs include Bawley Point, Batemans Bay, Berry, Callala Bay, Cunjurong, Currarong, Fishermans Paradise, Gerroa, Kiama, Malua Bay, Mogo, Moruya, Nowra, Sussex Inlet, Tomerong, Tuross Head, and Ulladulla.
It was named after Dame Mary Gilmore (1865–1962), a well known poet, author and journalist.
Industries include: tourism, timber, fishing, dairy and beef cattle
Its Members have been: 1984 to 1993 John Sharp (Nationals); Peter Knott (ALP) 1993 to 1996, Joanna Gash (Liberal) 1996 to 2013 and Ann Sudmalis (Liberal).
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