Well known community leader joins Rocky’s mayoral race
SEIZING on the absence of a strong incumbent contesting the role of Rockhampton's mayor, John Rewald has added his name to a growing field of challengers.
Well known throughout the city as a community leader, Mr Rewald is taking his run for mayor extremely seriously.
Mr Rewald was in the midst a "very large transition" having recently ceased his employment as a Minister at the Oasis New Life Centre in Park Avenue and CEO of Oasis Community Services to campaign full-time until by-election day on January 23.
"I'm focused on serving my community and I'm up for a major change in my life, so it was time to transition and that's what I decided to do," Mr Rewald said.
Mr Rewald has a long running association with Central Queensland having grown up in Moura before moving to Rockhampton in 1998 with his wife of 31 years and their four children.
After starting out in the mines with an electrical apprenticeship, he transitioned to safety management, mortgage broking, undertook study, and has chaired a few boards.
His most prominent role was founding the not-for-profit Oasis group of companies in 2002.
For the past six years he's also served as the chaplain for Central Queensland Capras - a role he intends to continue performing.
"I love Rockhampton and I think this is an opportunity that probably rarely comes up in this type of election where there is not a strong incumbent and I wanted to seize it," he said.
"I think the candidates are great and are very varied in the visions they've put forward (and) I think I have something different to the rest of them that I can bring forward."
Mr Rewald hoped his strong leadership skills, strategic thinking, ability to be able to work in community and have a team-based focus, would help him stand out from the crowded field of candidates.
"I want to work strongly with the federal member, the state member, members of the community and obviously the councillors and council employees at large," he said.
Mr Rewald's campaign slogan was "Big opportunities, living now, go forward".
"To go forward, I think we need a bit of a fresh start. We don't want to look back and we definitely don't want to blame anybody," he said.
"We need to be able to come up with ideas and strategies and obviously I don't have them all now.
"I want to consult more with the community. I'm very much at the inception of my campaign."
Having travelled the world, Mr Rewald was convinced Rockhampton was one of Australia's best kept secrets as a city destination.
"I love coming back to Rockhampton and I believe there are so many good things here that people don't know about," he said.
"We're literally sitting on a gold mine of resource and opportunity that is not communicated clearly.
"I see an increase in housing at the moment, businesses moving to town, tourism opportunity I think is huge, we have great sporting facilities we need to develop further."
He wanted to see places around the region like Mount Morgan harnessing tourism to grow.
This could be done through a marketing campaign sharing the secrets of Rockhampton, not only to the nation, but the rest of the world, which would drive the region's post-pandemic economic recovery.
While encouraging tourist to visit our region was one ambition, what Mr Rewald was also focused on keeping people here for the long term - a task made easier thanks to the excellent infrastructure and attractions already in place.
"I spoke to a gentleman today who said he moved here 10 years ago to study at university and never left. We need more stories like that," he said.
"I think it's a very family friendly city and I think it's a good place economically to bring your family and make this a long term destination."
Well aware that employment relied on businesses succeeding, Mr Rewald was focused on working closely with local businesses to support them as best he could.
Throughout the campaign, he intended to be himself, share the vision that he had for the region while maintaining a caring attitude for people and the community.
"I think people want to know that people are interested in them and that there is a plan to move forward," he said.
"I'm committed to go the journey."