Jeff bows out of race

FAMILY TIME: Cr Jeff Drayton is trading council commitments for other priorities such as coaching the Muswellbrook under 13s league team his son plays in.
FAMILY TIME: Cr Jeff Drayton is trading council commitments for other priorities such as coaching the Muswellbrook under 13s league team his son plays in.

Deputy mayor Jeff Drayton will not stand for Muswellbrook Shire council at the September 8 election.

“I would love to have run again, but the pressures of full-time shift work at a mine and three young

children – they need to come first,” he said.

Cr Drayton thanked his colleagues for their support and endorsed the work of the current council and mayor Martin Rush.

“I think most of the community would agree that it has achieved a lot in the past four years,” Cr Drayton said.

An improved financial position, aquatic centre and library upgrades, the main street improvements, increased recreation and roads spending, the Campbell’s Corner project and changes to the way the mining industry contributes to the town were among the council achievements Cr Drayton pointed to.

Mayor Rush praised Cr Drayton’s contribution over the past four years including three

as deputy mayor, and said he was a source of stability on the council.

“Jeff was crucial in bringing the Newcastle Knights to Muswellbrook, to the waiving of junior school fees on council’s sporting ovals. He was also council’s recreation spokes-person for the four years,” Cr Rush said.

“He also made an enormous contribution to coal mining policy particularly in relation to ensuring that the mines employed a minimum number of local apprentices and made appropriate annual contributions.”

Council chambers may not have seen the last of Cr Drayton, with him not ruling out a run in 2016.

He and his wife, Susan, have three children, aged 10, 13 and 15.

Four years to the 2016 election could make a big difference.

“I’d definitely think about coming back in the future,” he said.

Nine councillors seeking re-election

Nine of the 12 Muswellbrook Shire councillors confirmed this week they will run for another four-year term in local government.

Cr Jeff Drayton has ruled himself out of the ballot.

Cr Michael Valantine is undecided.

Mayor Martin Rush told the Chronicle he would make a decision shortly whether he would run.

“I hope that Martin Rush stands again,” Cr Drayton said.

“He has a lot of energy and has really taken the community forward.”

Cr Drayton said he encouraged others to consider standing for the council.

“You need to make sure you have enough time to devote to it,” he said.

“You want to go along and make a difference and work hard.

“It’s not just turning up to a meeting every fortnight. There’s a lot more to it than that.”

Nominations for the council close on August 8 and the elections are on September 8.