This week the Illawarra Mercury ran two mayoral candidate forums ahead of the Wollongong City Council election.
The forums, filmed and telecast live through our website and Facebook page thanks to our broadcast partner Relativity, gave the mayoral candidates a chance to address a wide range of topics.
Candidates were given a chance to talk about tourism, transports investment for the region, development and of course, roads, rates and rubbish.
It was interesting to note in some of the social media chatter, the push for the mayoral candidates to stay focused on grassroots council issues.
For example, the provision of footpaths.
The council should indeed be focused on those sorts of issues and it was clear the local community feel strongly about issues such as the provision and fair distribution of basic services across the city of Wollongong.
Yet the role of Lord Mayor also plays and active role as an advocate for his city.
In this particular point in history we need a Lord Mayor who is not only advocating and servicing those grassroots issues, but also tackling both federal and state government in terms of delivering for this region.
We need, now more than ever, a voice willing speak up and rattle the cages of those in the halls of power to deliver this city a fairer deal.
We are tired of being dismissed.
We are tired of being played for the fool, governments picking and choosing where we fall in terms of “regional or metropolitan” to suit themselves.
Get out and vote this weekend and our suggestion in both Wollongong and Shellharbour, vote for the people to head our councils that will do that in the best possible way.
We need leaders who are going to stand up for us on a national stage.
Thank you to all of the candidates who took part in the forums.
A special thank you to Gerardo Ceres and his team from Relativity.
The Illawarra is lucky to have innovative, forward-thinking companies like this servicing our region.
To all of the candidates across both Wollongong and Shellharbour this weekend, good luck.
Being willing to put up your hand and make a stand for your community should be applauded. We will keep you updated online at www.illawarramercury.com.au.