Hood announced as Liberal candidate

CANDIDATE ANNOUNCED: Mount Gambier City Councillor and small business owner Ben Hood has been formally announced as the Liberal candidate for the seat of Mount Gambier.

By Raquel Mustillo

MOUNT Gambier City Council elected member Ben Hood has ended speculation about his political future after being officially announced as the Liberal Party’s candidate for the seat of Mount Gambier.

After months of conjecture, Mr Hood was formally endorsed by the Liberal Party this week after being preselected unopposed in July.

Mr Hood will take on incumbent Mount Gambier MP Troy Bell at next year’s South Australian election, which will be held on March 19.

The small business owner said the electorate was a significant contributor to the state’s economy, with Mr Hood highlighting business development and jobs – particularly within the primary industry sector – as his priorities.

“The region punches so far above its weight with the amount of money that goes back into the state coffers, especially in regards to primary industries like forestry, dairy, beef and seafood,” Mr Hood said.

“Growing up on a farm, I understand the pressures of agriculture and we need to back some of our biggest employers as well as actively seeking new industries for the region.

“We need to be looking at investment in food manufacturing and we need to do the work to ensure we get our product out all across Australia as quickly as possible.”

Mr Hood said a greater focus on road infrastructure, air freight and marketing the region as a must-see destination had also prompted his decision to run for parliament.

He said a Liberal representative would provide a stronger voice to Mount Gambier constituents and empower the region at a state level.

“We need a strong, Liberal voice in Mount Gambier so they are in the room, making the noise and putting forward the case that Mount Gambier deserves infrastructure and services that the second biggest city in the state deserves,” Mr Hood said.

“It’s a matter of making Mount Gambier’s voice matter and having someone to jump up and down on North Terrace and in government because I think the Liberals are the right party to lead the state.”

In a statement, Premier Steven Marshall said Mr Hood has been an integral part of the Mount Gamier community, adding his local government experience would provide him with essential knowledge of the rural electorate.

“His work as a councillor for the City of Mount Gambier places him in good stead to understand just what the community needs and wants from a local member of government,” Mr Marshall said.

Mr Hood joins his sister Lucy Hood in vying for a state parliamentary seat, with the former Labor staffer running against Child Protection Minister in the seat of Adelaide.

“My sister and I are very close, but we were brought up to be very independent thinkers,” he said.

“At Christmas time we have some interesting debates.”