Councillor Joe Cooper has a passion: Charters Towers
Nobody was more surprised than Joe Cooper when he was elected a Councillor of Charters Towers Regional Council at the April 2012 Local Government Elections.
"Once I decided to nominate before the elections I found I got some momentum going," Councillor Cooper revealed.
"I thought I was a long shot to get in so I was surprised when I was elected as one of the six Councillors."
Joe Cooper knows the Charters Towers district pretty well.
He experienced some of his schooling in the town and with wife Sarah owned a cattle property at Pentland for three years.
"We then moved into Charters Towers and I worked for a year before we bought Bivouac Junction four and a half years ago," he said.
Councillor Cooper said that his motivation to stand for Council was centred on his belief in the community strengths of Charters Towers.
"The Towers is a great place to raise a family, you wouldn't find a better place."
Joe and Sarah Cooper have four children, aged from nine years down to 2½. The school-aged children catch the school bus into town each morning for their schooling.
Councillor Cooper has the portfolio responsibilities of tourism, airports and community grants and events.
"Tourism is very important for the Charters Towers economy," he said.
"Our tourists bring money into the town when they visit and that money then circulates around town. That's very important for local businesses."
Councillor Cooper is a regular attendee at a range of meetings that are planning community events.
"I believe Council plays a very important role in helping to promote so many events in the town and district," he said.
"There's a lot that Council does that most people know nothing about and it all costs money but I believe it's money wisely spent.
"Council has adopted a Community Grants Policy which will become effective from January next year and that will change how Council helps these groups. I believe people are going to have to get used to this process and I believe they will."
Councillor Cooper has found the process of Council, especially the content and variety of business at the monthly general meeting to be quite a learning curve.
"I think there is a good balance of age and experience on Council right now," he said.
"As a younger Councillor I like to put a younger person's perspective forward but the experience that is around the table is also very important and adds to that balance."
As a Councillor he has also hit the road during this year, with other Councillors and senior staff to visit rural areas. Those visits have taken him north to the Greenvale area and south to the Bowie area.
"It is certainly an eye-opener to visit these areas, to meet the great people and to listen to their problems and concerns," he said.
"I recognise even more the struggles these people have if their roads are rough. I also struggle with the fact that Council only has a small amount of dollars to do a lot of work but I love the bush and enjoyed visiting those locals."
Councillor Cooper was hesitant having his photograph for this profile taken as he is showing several days growth.
"Me and a couple of mates are doing our bit for Movember and I don't want people to think I look scruffy like this all the time."