Melissa Kelly nominates to replace her late father Leo Kelly on Blacktown Council

Melissa Kelly has nominated to stand for her late father Leo Kelly's seat on Blacktown Council. Picture: Isabella Lettini

Melissa Kelly has nominated to stand for her late father Leo Kelly's seat on Blacktown Council. Picture: Isabella Lettini

Melissa Kelly, the daughter of the late Leo Kelly, has nominated to fill her father’s seat on Blacktown Council.

Ms Kelly was born and raised in Lalor Park, where she lives with her teenage son Owen.

She told the Sun her decision to stand for the seat vacated by her father was an emotional one.

“I’ve grown up with politics, and I didn’t want anyone to go into the position for their own self importance and self gain,” she said.

“I wanted to continue on doing the work that my dad did.”

Ms Kelly said she had no desire to enter state or federal politics.

“I wanted to do this because I wanted to keep representing this community for the right reasons,” she said.

Ms Kelly became a member of the Australian Labor Party at 17, but her involvement with local politics started in childhood.

Her father served on the council from 1980 until his death last month after a private battle with cancer.

She’s also passionate about local issues for very personal reasons.

Ms Kelly is the survivor of a 15-year marriage in which she was subject to physical and mental abuse.

“My son and I keep it close to our chests, but if it means I’m going to help people understand it a bit better then I do want to talk about it,” she said.

“A lot of people have asked me, ‘why did you stay?’ You get brainwashed. It’s not until a few years later that you work out you can do this for yourself.

“It used to be a thing I was embarrassed about. You get ashamed of it because you think people just think you’re crazy for staying there.”

Melissa Kelly and her son Owen Kelly, 17, at Glenwood Reserve. Ms Kelly and her father Leo Kelly would watch Owen play soccer at the ground. Picture: Isabella Lettini

Melissa Kelly and her son Owen Kelly, 17, at Glenwood Reserve. Ms Kelly and her father Leo Kelly would watch Owen play soccer at the ground. Picture: Isabella Lettini

Ms Kelly said her own experience has made her a strong advocate for improved education and support.

“I’m very passionate about it and I think, if I need to help people, I do have to speak out and let them know what Owen and I went through,” she said.

Ms Kelly said other issues close to her heart included getting youth off the streets and into community programs, a makeover for Lalor Park shops, investment in sporting facilities, and preventing the privatisation of the council’s childcare facilities.

“My father always instilled in me the very best in Labor values, and if successful I will work to continue his legacy,” she said.

“It would be a tremendous honour to continue the work of my dad. He always treated the job with respect and I intend to do the same.”

Ward two councillor Julie Griffiths and retired police chief inspector Gary Raymond are supporting Ms Kelly’s nomination.

Nominations for the Labor preselection opened on Friday, February 10.

No other candidates have publicly declared their intention to run.

Ward two residents will go to the polls on Saturday, April 8, when it is expected that the Labor candidate will be elected to replace the late Cr Kelly.

Of the 31,732 who cast a formal vote in the 2016 local government election, 13,834 put Labor as their first preference in a significant swing against the Liberal party.

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