Candidate Close-Up: Jessica O'Donnell
Jess, you are the Candidate for Baw Baw Council, West Ward in the upcoming election. Apart from this, what else do you do? What’s your working background?
I am currently studying Law and International Relations full-time at Deakin University, I work part-time as a hairdresser in Drouin, and I am also a mum.
Can you pinpoint an event or moment that made you truly excited about politics?
There have been many moments when I have been excited about politics. However, there is one standout and that would have to be when Julia Gillard stood up and gave her speech in Parliament about misogyny. (Heart-eye emoji)
Do you have a mentor or hero you look up to in the political world? If so, what qualities do you admire about them?
I would have to say my hero is Professor Gillian Triggs. She is such an inspirational woman; she has shown her strength as President of the Australian Human Rights Commission and she will not be pushed around when she is standing up for what she believes in. She is an intelligent woman, and has shown how much woman can achieve with a Law Degree.
Like many candidates, you’ve been out meeting the public as part of your campaign. What are some of the biggest concerns you are hearing?
The thing I hear most is that people do not feel like they are being listened too. They are really looking for someone to listen to their concerns and help them through them. Confidence is down in the community with the Local Government, and we need to start making the community feel valued and heard. It starts with answering their calls or calling them back, talking with them and listening to what they have to say.
What do you love about your local area?
There are many things I love, so I will only mention a few. My local area has a vibrant and thriving arts culture, which is one of the many reasons I love where I live. The community spirit and support fills the heart. We also have some of the most amazing local produce, and some of the most beautiful landscapes in Victoria.