Building a stronger Somerset together

First term Somerset Regional Councillor Sally Jess envisions a Somerset that values collaboration and a shared vision. Picture: JESSE HAMILTON

As an active and dedicated community member, Sally Jess aims to expand community involvement and empowerment for all Somerset residents in her first term as a Somerset councillor.

Having moved to Esk with her family in 1990, Cr Jess has been involved in the Esk Show as its secretary for the past 15 years and has supported community through entrepreneurial pursuits as an interior designer and e-designer.

A strong advocate for social justice, Cr Jess said she ran for council to serve as a voice for the voiceless through deeper community connection.

“The reason I ran as a candidate is because I wanted to broaden my community engagement,” she said.

“From the start of being in Esk Show Society, I have seen how the community comes together and how we can support each other as well, and I just wanted to expand on that.

“Even before I became a councillor, noticing how down to earth people are in this region… they want to sit and chat, share their problems with you, and just talk, and I think being a voice for the community and the whole region is a big thing to me.”

The owner of a family-run beef cattle and cropping farm in Esk, Cr Jess holds a certificate in business and is passionate about supporting small businesses and the region’s agriculture and tourism sectors.

“Being a small business owner myself, it’s being an advocate for them, letting them know they can talk to me, and letting them know that there are grants out there,” she said.

“Council has an officer that will assist small businesses, whether they’re looking for a certain type of grant or to determine where to find resources.”

Cr Jess said one of her areas of concern over the next term is improving council’s public communication.

“During that campaigning period, one of the main topics that got to all of the candidates was the lack of communication from council to the community,” she said.

“As a collective, we want to be better at explaining things to the community and getting responses back to them within a quicker time frame to increase that connection between council and community.”