Mark Watson to contest Mayoral Election in September

Independent Mayoral candidate Mark Watson (left) will contest the Mayoral election in September.

INDEPENDENT Mark Watson has announced his intention to challenge for the position of Mayor in September’s Port Stephens Council election.

Mr Watson, who will also run as an East Ward candidate, previously contested the seat of Port Stephens in the 2023 State Election for One Nation, receiving 12.9 percent of the vote.

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Now with his eyes firmly set on becoming the LGA’s new Mayor, Mr Watson told News Of The Area he hopes to give locals back their voice.

“Politics has always been my desire; speaking up for those around me, giving them a voice.

“Lately I have found myself front and centre of many groups across Port Stephens who are frustrated at the lack of representation and need a voice.

“My focus is the best outcomes for Port Stephens.

“I will bring strong leadership, balance and the ability to listen to all the community.”

One of Mr Watson’s key policy platforms is opposition to the development of an offshore wind industry in the Hunter, a government proposal he calls the “biggest issue in the history of Port Stephens”.

“This project will change the identity of Port Stephens permanently,” he said.

“It’s no hidden fact that I have been a vocal opponent to the offshore wind farm.”

The Mayoral hopeful believes having independent councillors elected to Port Stephens Council can slow the process.

“Chris Bowen has stated he will work closely with Newcastle and Port Stephens councils to push this project through.

“We all know how unpopular this wind farm is, as Independents we can remove any doubt of party influence and achieve better outcomes for our community.”

Other focuses for Mr Watson include support for small business, tourism, council accountability, appropriate spending of council funds and responsible development.

“We will also continue to maintain focus on the three R’s – rates, roads, rubbish.”

Mr Watson claims to no longer be involved with One Nation and states he is running a campaign without political affiliation.

“I believe there is no room for party politics and influence within the council and I stand by this.

“This is why I am standing as an Independent to serve the community’s best interests.

“We don’t have political affiliation or funding.

“This is a grassroots campaign for the community, supported by the community.”

Mr Watson spent many years in the hospitality industry in various leadership roles, later moving into wholesale distribution and sales.

He now oversees a large team and travels throughout Port Stephens and the Hunter Valley.

Joining Mr Watson on his ticket is Newcastle and Port Stephens Game Fish Club President Troy Radford, another vocal opponent to offshore wind development.

“We have a team in place,” Mr Watson said.

“I can happily announce that Troy Radford will be joining us on one of our tickets.

“More information will be available in the coming weeks and we look forward to releasing more names of Independent candidates across all wards.”

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