Yvette Quinn will lead the Nationals to the 2019 state election in the seat of Orange after edging out Parkes mayor Ken Keith in the preselection vote on Saturday afternoon.
Ms Quinn, a 21-year-old mental health worker from Parkes, said it was a “great honour” to win preselection, and would immediately begin her campaign to win back the seat of Orange from Shooters, Fishers and Farmers’ Phil Donato.
“First order of business will be starting this campaign and going around and talking to people in local communities, in the villages, that is Cudal, Manildra, Molong, everywhere in the electorate,” she said.
Ms Quinn said neither being from outside of Orange or her age would not impact her on her quest for the seat.
I’m just here to focus on the future and on communitiesYvette Quinn
“I think it’s how much I want to fight and bring the seat back and have someone strong to represent the communities and to have deliverable and look out for the community’s best interests and be there,” she said.
“It’s going to be a long hard fight and I’m willing to put in every hour of every day for the next nine months to win it for the Nationals.
“I’m just here to focus on the future and on communities and what they want and listen to them and their issues and making sure I’m in touch with the community.”
The lead-up to the count was controversial, with Orange branch candidate Tony Mileto barred from running due to an error on his nomination form when running for Orange City Council in September last year, while Cr Keith was added to the ticket in May.
The meeting, held at Bletchington Public School, was fiery early as Cr Mileto’s supporters tried to push for him to be returned to the ticket, but after that notion was put to bed the count continued between Ms Quinn and Cr Keith.
Cr Mileto said Ms Quinn was “enthusiastic, dedicated, and should be a good candidate” and members had chosen “the best candidate to represent them” at the 2019 vote, but was disappointed he wasn’t given the opportunity to contest the vote.
Current member for Orange Philip Donato congratulated Ms Quinn on her victory, wishing her all the best in her campaign, but said it wouldn’t change how he went about his business.
“It doesn’t matter who my opponent is, I just want to get on with the job of representing the electorate,” he said.