THE NSW Nationals have endorsed Josh Angus as its candidate for Hunter at the upcoming federal election.
Mr Angus, a Hunter Valley café owner, stood as the party's candidate for Cessnock in the state election in March, and secured a swing of almost 3 per cent against the incumbent Labor member Clayton Barr.
Now, the 26-year-old is taking on another tough Labor incumbent in Joel Fitzgibbon and has promised to keep fighting for the people of the Hunter.
"I'm very excited to build upon what I've started here in the Hunter," Mr Angus said.
"I intend to campaign for the good of the people locally, not the good of the Labor Party machine."
A vocal mental health advocate, Mr Angus said he wanted to see more funding for headspace centres in regional areas, and a return to strong local representation.
"There are a lot of people in the Hunter who are employed either directly or indirectly by the coal industry, and we need to protect those jobs," he explained.
"But at the same time, I know our farmers are feeling anxious about these online activists who turn into offline pests.
"As a National, I believe in job security for our miners, but I also wanted to see tough laws that target people who want to trespass on farmland."
The Nationals received 26.3 per cent of first preference votes in the 2016 election but lost to Mr Fitzgibbon, the incumbent Labor MP.
Mr Angus said people deserved to have someone who understood everyday problems and stood up for them.
"Our local member has had an easy ride and that stops now," he said.
"I know this is a tough fight, but the people of the Hunter deserve someone who'll fight for them, not mates in Canberra."
One Nation recently named Singleton miner Stuart Bonds as its representative.