Labor MP eyeing Nat seats

08 Aug 2018 Border Mail, Albury-Wodonga (General News) by Anthony Bunn LABOR Upper House member Jaclyn Symes is considering running for a Lower House seat in Novembers Victorian election. The MP for Northern Victoria says she has been approached to fly the Labor flag in two North East Legislative Assembly districts held by Nationals members. Ive been asked to run for both Euroa and Ovens Valley, which I guess is a pretty strong indication that people are not happy with the National Party representatives, Ms Symes said. Ive been lobbied by quite a few people to look at both seats. I think theres a lot of people that have recognised theres been a lot of investment that Labor has provided to the North East community and I think they recognise if we had a Lower House representative that would be even stronger. Ms Symes, who lives near Broadford and grew up in Benalla, said she had a lot more synergies with the seat of Euroa, which covers those places, than Ovens Valley which includes Wangaratta and is a slightly safer conservative seat. With a margin of 14.5 per cent though, Euroa is still a Nationals stronghold. However, Ms Symes noted it includes the merged electorate of Seymour which was held by Labor from 1999 to 2010. She would not say when she will decide on a Lower House bid. If Ms Symes opts to stay in the Legislative Council she will be No.2 on the Labor ticket despite having served three years longer than No.1 Mark Gepp who replaced Steve Herbert, best known for having his dogs chauffeured at taxpayers expense. Ms Symes was unable to say why she was No.2 rather than No.1, other than hinting it was Labor Party politics at play. Meanwhile, Ms Symes said it may be September before candidates are installed for all North East seats, including Benambra. She suggested incumbents Bill Tilley (Benambra), Tim McCurdy (Ovens Valley) and Steph Ryan (Euroa) were all a bit worriedabout who their competition is. Ms Ryan declined to speak to The Border Mail yesterday, while Mr McCurdy did not reply. Mr Tilley said whoever the candidate is they will have to live with (Premier) Daniel Andrews legacy of ignoring the North East, citing roads funding cuts, wild deer policy and Beechworth rail trail funding.