Naracoorte raised Ben Hood has won a Liberal vote 119-87 to replace former Health Minister Stephen Wade in the Legislative Council.
In a blow to Opposition Leader David Speirs, who had publicly said he wanted a woman for the job, the majority of 220 State council members voted for a regional person – Mr Hood, now of Mount Gambier.
Mr Hood’s rival was one of the party vice-presidents, Leah Grantham.
In a likely State first for siblings in politics, Mr Hood now sits on the opposite side of the political fence to his sister – Labor’s Member for Adelaide, Lucy Hood.
Following a late night at the pre-selection, Mr Hood said he had breakfast with his sister and celebrated over a cup of coffee.
“There will be a bit of sibling rivalry, but there will be some work we can get done together, too, I’m sure,” Mr Hood said.
Especially if it meant getting a better deal for regional issues such as health, housing, safer roads and reliable connectivity.
“I made a commitment to all the delegates before the vote that I would be a regional MLC, living in the region,” said Mr Hood, who grew up on a farm near Bool Lagoon with his family.
“It is a real honour to be selected to fill this casual vacancy and I’m humbled by the faith that the Liberal State council has placed in me.
“I’m really inspired to hit the ground running and start to really advocate for things. There’s cost of living and housing affordability, and most importantly health in the regions.”
Mr Hood hoped as many people as possible could sign the Radiation Therapy Petition which SA Liberal vice-president Lachie Haynes was promoting throughout the readership area of The News.
“I’m looking forward to holding Labor to account to make sure they do deliver that service, because it’s a vital service for the whole Limestone Coast,” Mr Hood said.
“I’ll be working hard with Member for MacKillop Nick McBride, who is now my colleague on other issues that are important to our region – like mobile phone reception, (safety of) our roads, and of course ensuring that we do have the connectivity that we need in our regions.
“If Covid has taught us anything, you can live and work from anywhere. The regions are an attractive place to live.
“Naracoorte, my home town, is a wonderful spot, as is Mount Gambier and all of our townships around the Limestone Coast.”
Mr Hood said that as a digital professional, he understood the importance “of good connectivity, the internet and phones”.
“So, I’ll certainly be advocating for that, not just in our region, but for all regions,” he said.
So where did Ben and Lucy get their passion for politics?
Growing up on a farm at Bool Lagoon, civic leadership ran deep in the veins of the Hood family.
“Lindsay my grandfather was involved in council and David Hood was the mayor of Naracoorte Lucindale,” he said.
Additionally, Ben remembers watching current affair programs as a family and always being “surrounded by the news”.
“I think that for Lucy and I that interest that mum and dad had, and that our grandparents had in world affairs, and the affairs of Australia grew within us a real passion for being informed,” Mr Hood said.
“And we were always told that to be a good member of the community, you must serve the community, so Lucy and I have both done that.”
Mr Hood, a director of Hello Friday and co-creator of George the Farmer, was also deputy mayor of Mount Gambier City Council, but has now resigned to take on his new job as a Member of the Legislative Council.
This article appeared in the Naracoorte Community News.