After 30 years in the military, Richard Salcole hopes to give other veterans in Wagga a voice if he is elected to council.
He has lived in the city for more than 20 years and said a noticeable decline in "community spirit" is what prompted him to put his hand up.
"[Like] the old saying 'if you can't beat them, join them' ... to fix things you need to be on the inside, so that's why I'm running," Mr Salcole said.
The 51-year-old is running in the upcoming Wagga City Council election as an ungrouped candidate, which he said was a deliberate decision.
"I believe that for local elections, it's people of Wagga voting for people of Wagga to support the people of Wagga," he said.
"Party politics doesn't come into it until you get to a state or federal level."
This is Mr Salcole's first time running for local government and he said he has a broad focus on the community, including one issue on everyone's minds - roads.
"Roads are [on my] agenda, but I want to find out why our roads are failing," he said.
"Is it the fact that we haven't been using the right mixes? Is it [that] we haven't had the right contractors? Is it that we're not putting enough money into it to get the right product?"
Mr Salcole applies the same line of questioning to social housing in Wagga. He said there is a homelessness crisis across the city due to a lack of social housing, but housing commission homes in areas such as Mount Austin and Tolland are sitting "vacant and falling apart because they don't meet current standards".
"Why aren't we looking at developing them," Mr Salcole said.
"Why aren't we talking to the state [government] and saying 'you've got a block of land here that you're not developing, do something with it or we'll take it back."
Mr Salcole was first based in Wagga in the 80s as a trainee, going on to work in the air force before coming back to Wagga with his family. He has been married for 32 years and has two adult children and seven grandchildren, who are all in Wagga.
Nearly 20,000 people in Wagga have a defence connection and if I can tap into a fraction of that ... and let them know that they have a voice on council as well, then that would be ideal.Richard Salcole
Mr Salcole is dedicated to improving the lives of local veterans and their families, currently studying a part-time diploma of counselling to further assist those locally who have served.
He wants to help veterans transition from the service back into the local workforce and feel more comfortable making Wagga their home.
"[They] have a brilliant work ethos but they work differently to other people," he said, estimating that one third of Wagga has a defence connection.
"Nearly 20,000 people in Wagga have a defence connection and if I can tap into a fraction of that ... and let them know that they have a voice on council as well, then that would be ideal."
In the lead up to this year's election, The Daily Advertiser has profiled the candidates looking to secure a spot on Wagga City Council.
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