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Labor candidate for Euroa to put up a Tough fight

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By Colin MacGillivray

Angela Tough hopes to present voters in the Euroa electorate with ‘a real alternative’ by standing as a Labor candidate for November’s state election.

Ms Tough, a secondary school teacher from Euroa, said she was passionate about grassroots-level politics and that Labor’s values largely aligned with her own.

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“I believe in social equality and fairness for every Australian. It’s fundamental to my belief system as an educator that it shouldn’t matter if you’re a regional student or a city student – and I’ve worked at schools in both settings – you should have access to quality education,” she said.

“We have big issues in mental health and access to social housing in the regions. There is some great stuff Labor is doing around that.

“Life in Australia shouldn’t be great for just a few, and that underpins what I want to do.”

Ms Tough said the welfare of farmers and agricultural workers was another issue close to her heart, as she and her husband owned a farm together.

“I think there are a lot of challenges for farmers, from mental health to sustainability and the issues facing us with climate change,” she said.

“Our soil and our waterways are part of essential infrastructure for farming, and I think there are … [amazing] things happening across regional areas in terms of renewables and sustainability.

“Labor has announced millions of dollars for roads, and we’re getting some of that for the Hume [Freeway] and in places like Shepparton.

“I want to protect what’s beautiful about [the country] and step up in some of the gaps where things need to be done.”

Ms Tough said the government’s plan to offer free kindergarten programs to all Victorian children aged three and four would benefit families in the electorate.

“I understand how hard it can be to have kids and have shortfalls in things like day care. That’s a policy that will make women’s lives a whole lot easier and allow them to return to work, and make a difference to families’ cost of living,” she said.

Ms Tough said she wanted to be ‘a real voice for change’ in the electorate and asked voters to consider change.

The Euroa electorate has been held comfortably by Nationals member Steph Ryan since its inception in 2014, but with Ms Ryan stepping down at the coming election, Ms Tough said she could present a viable alternative.

“I might not be the most experienced politician and I might not have a big marketing team behind me, but I’m hoping people can see a genuine local who understands the challenges of having a family, working full-time, and running a farm … and how I can bring that experience to government to be their voice,” she said.

“I don’t think anyone benefits from a safe seat. When [your local member is] in opposition for a long time I don’t think that’s helpful, but being in a safe seat is extra unhelpful.

“When you see on the ticket that there are only Liberal and Nationals candidates running [apart from me] you ask yourself ‘how do we know what people want if there’s not a real alternative?’

“A marginal seat will always attract more attention – that’s just a fact of politics.”

Ms Tough said while she lived in Euroa, she would work hard to represent the entire electorate, including the northern parts of Mitchell Shire.

“I’m going to get out there, meet as many people as possible, talk to as many people as possible and listen to as many people as possible,” she said.

“I know population growth is putting a lot of pressure on essential infrastructure [in that part of the electorate] and there is going to have to be some really good planning done around that.

“If I’m lucky enough to get elected, I want to know what I’m working on come the Monday morning.”

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