THE Greens have announced Horsham writer Nkandu Beltz as their candidate for Lowan.
Ms Beltz, 31, was born in Zambia, grew up in Botswana and lived in The Netherlands before moving to Australia.
She has lived in Horsham for two years.
“I’ve been very much interested in politics from a very young age,” she said.
Ms Beltz said Mahatma Gandhi provided her with political inspiration.
“Like Gandhi says, ‘be the change you want to see in the world’,” she said.
A former journalist, Ms Beltz’s book ‘I Have the Power’ details her life growing up in a third-world country and is expected to be released soon.
She also founded Youth Empowerment Program Australia, which has run programs for students in Horsham, Dimboola, Nhill and Rainbow.
Ms Beltz said she would endeavour to explain the party’s policies to the people of Lowan.
“People care about the environment and people care about many issues presented by the Greens,” she said.
“As a party, we are in touch with our community. “
Ms Beltz said despite her slim chances on election day, she would work hard for the party.
“We’re hoping for the best as a team and we’ll do our level best,” she said.
With Nationals candidate for Lowan Emma Kealy expected to win the seat comfortably, Ms Beltz’s role will include boosting the profile of Greens upper house candidate for Western Victoria Lloyd Davies.
The Greens believe the race for the fifth legislative council seat – held by Nationals member David O’Brien – will be close.
Mr Davies said the party was looking to increase its vote in Lowan significantly.
“With the current climate, it is going to be a very close election but we are in with a very good chance,” he said.
“It’s fantastic to know that everyone in Western Victoria, including Horsham, is in a marginal seat and their vote is incredibly important because it will come down to the wire.”
Of the 11 electoral districts in Western Victoria, Lowan had the lowest Green vote at the 2010 election.
Mr Davies said the poor Green vote was because of a lack of resources at the last election.
He said the campaign so far was the greatest mobilisation of Greens supporters he had seen in Western Victoria.
“It’s very exciting. When I doorknock and talk to the community, the one thing they want is to have no party in complete control,” Mr Davies said.
“They love the idea of Greens having the balance of power because whether or not people agree with every single one of our values, everybody knows that we stick to our values.”
Mr Davies said The Greens would use a balance of power spot to leverage support for renewable energy, improved regional public transport and opposition for the proposed open-cut mines on Stawell’s Big Hill.
“The gold mine is incredibly concerning for people who have chosen to live in Stawell,” he said.
“They definitely didn’t choose to live next to an open cut gold mine.”