REGION - Willaura grain grower Louise Staley is no stranger to politics and the Liberal candidate for Ripon is hopeful she'll be no stranger to the region's voters come this year's state election in November.
Ms Staley said she contests the Western District electorate that covers Ararat and Stawell in the hope of extending her representational career.
"I have been a long term member of the Liberal party and an active member of the community since I moved to Willaura eight years ago. This is an opportunity for me to expand that role," she said.
"I stand for good government and the benefits I believe the coalition would bring to Ripon."
Ms Staley said a funding commitment for the duplication of the Western Highway is something she will be fighting hard to secure.
"I am personally very keen on the expansion of freight services and the access to the market in and around Ararat for both farmers and other businesses," she said.
"I think duplication of the Western Highway is an incredibly important part of that and something I will be fighting hard for.
"Also specifically for Ararat is the expansion of the prison, it is important this project is back on track and headed towards completion, to secure jobs not just now but in the long term," she said.
Ms Staley said another issue people are having to battle day-to-day for is access to suitable and affordable technology.
"The issue of telecommunications is something people have raised repeatedly with me," she said.
"I welcome Premier Napthine's $40 million to eliminate mobile blackspots and provide free Wi-Fi on trains, this is a good move forward in the right direction."
The State Government will consider rolling out Wi-Fi services across the V/Line network more broadly if the implementation of initial services is a success.
Ms Staley said she has the ability to work alongside people to get outcomes as she continues to work in several positions in the community that involve collaborating with others.
Her current roles include president of the East Grampians Health Service board, director of the Grampians Medicare Local and director of the food and environment unit at the Institute of Public Affairs.
"As president of the EGHS, it is a real privilege to serve the community as part of what is such a great organisation," she said.
"There are many, many ways I think we can build on the good work that's already being done, and to make things even better.
"I have already met with several local governments across Ripon and I will continue to meet with community groups and businesses, listening, seeking to understand what is most important to them," she said.
"Because in my mind a good representative of the community is one that is in the community."
Warrnambool-based Nathan Anderson also entered the race to represent Ripon on behalf of the Liberal party, but lost his bid to Ms Staley at a branch vote of 70 members in Avoca in March.
Ms Staley unsuccessfully sought preselection in Ripon at the 2010 election and has previously stood for the federal seats of Wannon, Casey and Menzies.
Ripon is currently held by retiring Labor MP, Joe Helper.He became the electorate's representative in 1999.