Lohse the only female candidate in mayoral race
MAYORAL candidate Gay Lohse has vowed to bring a down-to-earth, commonsense approach to local politics if elected as mayor.
"Living and working in the region for most of my life has taught me the value of respect, accountability and responsibility," Mrs Lohse said.
The mother of three and successful businesswoman has a record of seeking out opportunities to give back to the community that has given her so much.
"This region gave me three beautiful kids, the chance to run my florist shop and then the chance to be licensee at the Empire Hotel," she said.
"I understand the vital role small business plays in the region. But also years of working in the hospitality industry can also teach you a lot about people, especially if you are a good listener."
Ms Lohse says she understands the concerns about rates and will do what she can as mayor to reduce expenditure and pressure on ratepayers.
But she has stopped short of putting a figure on the size of any rate cut for now, preferring to see the state of the books before announcing the size of any cut.
"Anyone who pretends they can deliver a 5% or 10% rate cut without seeing the state of the council's finances is just pulling your leg," she said.
"Politicians should never make promises unless they know for sure they can keep them. I am not a politician, I want to get in there, identify the waste and then let ratepayers know the scale of rate-relief council can confidently deliver.
"I am confident that in time, rate cuts are inevitable. Years of running small businesses have taught me that you can always find waste if you're willing to look hard enough."
Ms Lohse says she is also committed to promoting the business and community groups that are the backbone of the region, and will work towards welcoming business investment to the area and therefore open up employment opportunities.
"I have been honoured over the years to work for a wide variety of groups and organisations and will do anything I can to promote the great work these groups do," she said.
Ms Lohse has previously volunteered for the Gympie Show Society and various sporting clubs, as well as performing with the Gympie Musical Union and St Peter's Choir. She has a 30-year association with Rotary International, through both of the Rotary clubs in Gympie, and is on the boards of SkillCentred Queensland, the Heart of Gold International Film Festival and Peacebuilders International.
"It seems like a lot to do on top of raising three beautiful kids, but I've always believed if you want to make the most out of life you've got to get involved," she said. "That's why I am throwing my hat in the ring to become mayor. I really believe with the support of the community, we can take the region from strength to strength."