Providing a voice for the small, rural villages across the region is the backbone of Susan Thomas' election campaign.
The Oura resident knows all too well how difficult it can be for small communities to have their issues recognised and their thoughts considered - something she would be looking to rectify if elected to Wagga City Council.
Mrs Thomas is one of the five candidates running on the Community First ticket put together by councillor Dallas Tout.
The 53-year-old teacher's aide was born in Melbourne but moved to Wagga as a young teen and went on to graduate from Wagga High School.
After a brief move to Tasmania, Mrs Thomas returned to Wagga and 17 years ago she relocated to Oura where she has lived ever since.
While in the village she has developed into a "passionate and dedicated" community member, becoming involved with the Oura Progress Association and helping coordinate multiple local projects.
Mrs Thomas said securing funding and dealing with Wagga City Council can be a daunting task for a small village and she'd be looking to improve that relationship if elected.
"I'm really not sure if those small communities have a voice in council decisions at the moment and I don't think they are considered enough," she said
"We get funding for things every now and again but you've really got to put your hand up and go through the whole application process, which can be a bit daunting sometimes if the village doesn't have someone who is familiar with it."
In her role as a teacher's aide, Mrs Thomas regularly deals with young teens and children with disabilities and those who face substantial social disadvantages.
The mother of three said she'd be pushing to ensure there are adequate mental health and disability support services available in Wagga.
"I think we really need to make sure we can provide opportunities for our young people both while they are at school and once they finish as well," she said.
"We should be looking to get our young people out and experiencing things in the Wagga community by doing things like volunteering for local charities."
"We've got a 20-year-old son with autism and I know we definitely struggled services-wise to find something that was right for him, and in speaking to other parents I know we're not the only ones who have struggled."
Mrs Thomas would also like to see the region become more entertaining for young people, regardless of how much money they have.
"We have to make sure there are facilities for entertainment and recreation for young people which is accessible to everybody," she said.
"One thing we could do is build up the riverside and fill it with fun, free things for young people."
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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