Cooke hits the ground running

National Party candidate for the seat of Cootamundra Steph Cooke spent the day at the Cowra Show on Sunday following her win in 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 Monday Ms Cooke had received 20,510 votes.

Country Labor’s Charlie Sheahan received 10,678 votes and Shooters Fishers and Farmers candidate Matt Stadtmiller 10,335 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 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. Shooters Party candidate Matt Stadtmiller has said he will continue to fight for the people of the Cootamundra electorate.

“This election, just like the Orange by-election, is a clear message to the Nationals that rural New South Wales cannot keep being taken for granted,” Mr Stadtmiller said.

“As a Hilltops Councillor, I will continue to fight for our community against a State Government that systematically ignores us here,” he said.

Country Labor candidate Charlie Sheahan has called on ‘action” from Ms Cooke.

“We need Ms Cooke to cross the floor on any issue that isn’t in the interests of Cootamundra and not just tow the Nationals line.”