New member hits the ground running

The National Party have retained the seat of Cootamundra following candidate Steph Cooke’s win in last Saturday’s by-election. 

Ms Cooke, who resides in Young, held on to the seat despite a swing against the National Party.

With counting continuing on Tuesday, Ms Cooke had received 20,589 votes.

Country Labor’s Charlie Sheahan received 10,743 votes and Shooters Fishers and Farmers candidate Matt Stadtmiller 10,415 votes.

Christian Democrat Candidate Phillip Langfield of Wattamondara polled 1220 votes, Greens candidate Jeffery Passlow 1200 votes and Independent candidate Jim Saleam 434 votes. On a two candidate preferred basis Ms Cooke finished with 58.8 per cent of the vote. 

On a two candidate preferred basis Ms Cooke finished with 58.8 per cent of the vote from Country Labor’s Charlie Sheahan with 41.1 per cent.

Ms Cooke said she was very thankful for the support she received from the voters of Cootamundra electorate.

“The people of Cowra, Weddin, Temora, Young and all across the electorate, the support has been widespread,” Ms Cooke said on Monday morning as she settled in to the office previously occupied by Katrina Hodgkinson.

Speaking fondly of Ms Hodgkinson, Ms Cooke said she “has been an inspiration, I am humbled and honoured to be following in her footsteps”.

“So many people have said to me how wonderful (Ms Hodgkinson) was how relateable she was and how willing to listen and fight for Cootamundra she was,” Ms Cooke said of the former member for Cootamundra.

“I will be getting out, meeting with people, listening and talking to people all across the electorate to find out what is important to them,” she said.

Her first day on the job started with a visit to Cowra Show where she witnessed the wife carrying competition and also had the chance to inspect the Cowra Pavilion which is due to a major upgrade courtesy of a recently announced state government grant.

“It is going to be a real asset to the Cowra community,” Ms Hodgkinson said, after visiting the pavilion.​

With counting continuing, the primary vote swing against the National Party in Cootamundra was 19.7 per cent and in Murray 15 per cent.

This translated to a two-candidate preferred swing against the Nationals of 19.2 per cent in Murray and a 10 per cent two-party preferred swing away from the party in Cootamundra.