THE Nationals has begun its bid to reclaim the seat of Orange, with one of the branches putting its choice forward.
The preselection for the state seat will be held next month, but the Orange branch endorsed councillor Tony Mileto as their candidate after Saturday’s regional party conference.
The Parkes, Forbes and Molong branches also have the option to endorse candidates for preselection.
Cr Mileto, who is also president of the Orange and District Football Association and a past president of the Orange Residents and Ratepayers Association, was chosen unopposed after November 2016 byelection candidate Scott Barrett told the branch he would not seek endorsement at the meeting.
“I was humbled and proud, to be quite honest, it’s nice to know people hold you in that esteem,” he said.
He said he wanted to be part of the region’s development and encouragement from fellow members prompted him to put his name forward.
Road safety, health, job creation and funding bids will drive his bid for preselection and, if successful, his bid for parliament.
“I’m very passionate about roads and road safety, there’s no secret about that, and I was involved in the Ray Martin program It Won’t Happen To Me,” he said.
“It was exciting for me when [Roads Minister] Melinda Pavey knew who I was and asked could she meet me – we chatted about legislation she changed in parliament and I gave [my opinion].”
Asked how how would take on Shooters, Fishers and Farmers incumbent Phil Donato, he said he was not thinking about it.
“I’m not concerned about what my opponents are doing, it’s not a personal thing,” he said.
“I am concerned that Orange is missing out on funding opportunities.”