Former Richmond footballer, Scott Turner enters politics

REGION - He rose to the challenges on the football field and now Ararat sporting identity Scott Turner is trying his hand at politics.

Victorian Deputy Premier and Leader of The Nationals, Peter Ryan visited Ararat yesterday to announce Mr Turner as the The Nationals' candidate for Ripon in the 2014 State election.

Mr Ryan said the community stalwart, who is a life member of the Richmond Football Club, was the perfect candidate to try and win back what has been a safe Labor electorate for more than 14 years.

"We are delighted to have Scott in the field, he is a man of enormous experience, born of course in Ararat and has lived much of his life here," Mr Ryan said.

"He has been in small business and at Gasons he has got a very important job as the HR manager there. He has a proud history in football and contribution to community."

Mr Turner said his decision to nominate for state politics may surprise some, but he is very serious about taking on this challenge.

"It is out of the blue, out of the box a bit, but I spoke to Hugh (Delahunty, member for Lowan) in detail about it and our similarities are pretty much the same - sporting backgrounds, local boys, Ararat-Horsham - so I am looking forward to the challenges ahead," he said.

"It is a great opportunity for me to be the face of Ararat and surroundings. I am in it to win it.

"I love challenges. I have been there, done that with footy and now it's a totally different ball game, so we will give it a good shot."

Mr Turner has worked throughout the Ripon electorate in his previous role as an employment consultant and is currently involved in the Central Grampians LLEN mentoring program.

The father of two is also involved in many local community sporting organisations.

While he retired from AFL football after 144 games in 1999, Mr Turner is still involved with the sport, this year coaching the Ararat Football Club's under-17 team.

Mr Turner said he will use his background in employment, as well as sport and recreation, to address a number of issues across the Ripon electorate in the lead up to the November 30 election.

"Obviously sport and recreation, the unemployment rates which I've been involved in before, the roads and bridges," he said were some of the key issues in the region.

"Us, as locals and country guys are sick of the old roads we are driving on, so we obviously need to keep on improving those.

"On the sport and recreation side of things, we are finally in the process now of getting our rooms built here, but right around the Ripon electorate there are more facilities that need updating.

"I am well known around Ararat, Stawell, Maryborough through work, but I've also got to look to travel up to places like Charlton, Donald, Hepburn, Bridgewater and show my face.

"Whatever I can do, whether it is take training for those football clubs or just show my face and communicate with the locals to try and get across what I can bring to them."

The seat of Ripon has been held by Labour candidate Joe Helper since 1999. He announced in December 2012 that he would not contest the next election.

Mr Ryan said Mr Turner will be 'very busy' in the coming months, meeting as many members of the Ripon community as possible.

"I've been in politics for almost 22 years and the obligation that you have never changes in the first instance, you are elected by the people who send you to the parliament on their behalf and no matter what you might otherwise be doing in this role, your first responsibility is your constituents," he said.

"This man has a proud record of looking after that in so many ways and I am sure he will bring that into this election campaign.

"In the end politics is local, it is about what we need to do to secure the future of the people of this region. The primary issue is jobs, jobs and jobs.

"Scott is very ably supported by his wife Kerri and with Paddy and Pippa in there barracking as well, and a strong support of local community members we are very hopeful of a positive outcome."

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