BENDIGO Tennis Association manager James Rouel is standing for election to Bendigo council.
The 25-year-old Long Gully resident is running in the Whipstick ward.
This is his first time running for local government.
COVID-19 response and recovery, attracting more major events to the region, and standing up for the city's most disadvantaged and vulnerable residents are among the key focus areas for Mr Rouel's campaign.
He aspired to a fair, equal and strong Bendigo for all.
"Ultimately, council requires more diversity, better advocacy for the disillusioned, and a grounding on the issues that really matter to residents," Mr Rouel said.
"I believe I am the candidate who can provide that."
Originally from the Yarrawonga area, Mr Rouel moved to Bendigo in 2013 to attend university.
He went on to build his career in the region.
"The nature of my role requires frequent interaction and engaging discussions with our diverse community," Mr Rouel said.
"These discussions, along with firsthand experiences in studying, searching for employment and accessing community resources have all allowed for a greater understanding of the key issues that Bendigo residents face."
He noted the high levels of disadvantage in parts of the city - most of which fell within the Whipstick ward.
Mr Rouel suggested building on breakfast and lunch program as one of the avenues council could consider.
He said parking might be an area council could consider when it came to encouraging people to support local businesses.
"Even though it's a small barrier, it's still a barrier," Mr Rouel said, of parking fees.
He said he consulted both the City of Greater Bendigo and his employer to ensure he had the all-clear to potentially become involved in council.
The city owns the tennis centre.
If elected, Mr Rouel said he would have to absent himself from any tennis-related decisions, much like existing councillors who served on the boards of council-owned sporting facilities.
Both his employer and the city were otherwise fine with his candidacy.
"I believe my role at the Bendigo Tennis Association - maintaining a world-class facility, managing pressures of multiple internal and external stakeholders, as well as overseeing the operation of multiple international events - has provided growth in important skill sets when representing the community," Mr Rouel said.
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