Gordon Cope will stand for Council, with big ideas on niche industry.

COUNCIL CANDIDATE: Independent Hillgrove resident Gordon Cope has announced he will stand in the Armidale Regional Council election.

COUNCIL CANDIDATE: Independent Hillgrove resident Gordon Cope has announced he will stand in the Armidale Regional Council election.

“I have this defect called Interested in Everything,” Gordon Cope said.

“I’m not going to put myself forward for a quiz program but my collective knowledge is pretty broad.”

He may not be putting himself forward for a quiz program, but Mr Cope has put himself forward to stand in the Armidale Regional Council election.

 A social worker and lecturer at the University of New England, Mr Cope said listening skills are his biggest asset.

“I’d have to say I have excellent listening skills, a lot of representation is about listening to the people who are your constituents,” he said.

“My intention is to do a mighty lot of that.”

Standing as an independent, Mr Cope believes party-politics should be left out of local Council elections.

“Anybody that’s running on a one party ticket is a flawed candidate, we need to be there for the whole community and understand the issues of the whole community,” he said.

Unemployment is one of the top issues on the ballot paper for Mr Cope.

In his opinion, the Armidale region needs to move away from industry and consider niche businesses as a solution.

“Smaller retail stores are struggling, but there are people in niche businesses who are doing okay,” Mr Cope said.

“By the nature of niche industry, they’re not going to employ 100 people – that’s not what it’s about.

“But, if you have enough niche industries you might employ 100 people and it’s amazing what can happen.

“That’s the sector we need to appeal to.”

The University of New England and public and private sectors are the regions biggest economic drivers, Mr Cope said.

Keeping face-to-face, on-campus degrees in Armidale is one of the focuses of his campaign.

Mr Cope said there are no shortages of students wanting to enrol in on-campus degrees in music and theatre.

“There’s a trend toward online education and that’s undeniable,” he said.

“But, there are many qualifications you might seek that are not well-taught online, UNE has shied away from having a music degree – there’s certainly not an on-campus course.

“At the end of the day you need that face-to-face content and experience.”

Moving away from being a university and arts town is a huge mistake, according to Mr Cope.

“It’s a flawed argument because it’s an either, or, solution,” he said.

“I’m not about that – we need to do lots about employment in the town but the education and government sector does really well.

“Leaving those two things is cutting off your nose to spite your face.”

Nominations open officially July 31.

Meet all the candidates: Your guide to the Armidale Regional Council election

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