The National Party’s federal member for Page Kevin Hogan does not believe in formal titles and insists on simply being called “Kevin”.
Hogan sees himself as just an ordinary man and just another citizen of the Page electorate.
But he is also one who has had three years in Canberra.
Hogan said he joined the Nationals because it was a regionally focused party and caring for his community is “paramount” in everything he does. The 52-year-old father prides himself on being active in the community.
“Everything I do is about helping people.”
Hogan likes to hang his hat on federal funding for the Pacific Highway duplication project. He has also secured funding of $3 million to redevelop Casino’s NRLX saleyards and $2.85 million for Lismore’s new regional art gallery and Quadrangle project.
Other major committments to the electorate include $850,000 to reconstruct Ballina’s marine tower, and more than $4 million to upgrade the Harwood Sugar Mill and Refinery.
“I want to offer one thing and that is jobs,” he said.
As a former teacher with three children aged 20, 18 and 15, Hogan believes that the future of local youth is important.
“I want [young people], and I want my children to be able to have not just jobs, but careers in our region. We need to do much more on that.”
One of his former students, who chose to remain anonymous, remembers a conversation where Hogan told her to reconsider her attitude towards her education.
“He told me that my education had the potential to shape the rest of my life,” she said.
She started to take school seriously and is working now in finance. She believes what he said made her “‘get serious” about her schooling.
To Hogan, his position as member for Page is more about the community than it is about politics.
“The job is 89 per cent community. And I have to be out in the community, and active in it,” he said.
“I need to be in tune with the community.”
Hogan tuned into the community’s vocal opposition to Coal Seam Gas (CSG), a theme that was apparent in his election campaign and in his maiden parliamentary speech.
He raised the issue in parliament again in May 2015, when he queried the appropriateness of the industry in the Northern Rivers and acknowledged the huge opposition to CSG in Page.
“My community has spoken; I have listened,” he said in his speech. “I will do whatever I can do to support my state colleagues in anything we can do to keep the Northern Rivers coal seam gas free.”
Indeed Hogan worked to amend the government's one-stop environmental shop legislation with two of his own amendments that were designed to protect the water trigger, one of the few control mechanisms over CSG mining that was in federal government hands.
But he ultimately walked away from this commitment to stand with his community in 2014 when he voted with the Coalition to return control of the water trigger back to the states,
Gasfield Free Northern Rivers spokesperson Michael McNamara said at the time that Hogan had made “a specific commitment” before he was elected “not to support federal environment powers being handed back to the states and threatened to 'cross the floor' on CSG”.
This might play against him at the ballot box in a region which had a 24 per cent swing to the Greens at the last state election on the back of CSG issue.
Hogan has shown himself to be a party man and has voted loyally with the Coalition throughout the last government. Recent ReachTel polling conducted by the NSW Teachers Federation suggests that the Coalition’s parliamentary record on the Gonski funding may also play to his key opponent in the 2016 contest, with Janelle Saffin polling 56 per cent on a two-party preferred basis.
Kevin Hogan is optimistic and hopeful of being re-elected, but if defeated, he looks forward to what comes next for him and his family.
After all, he is just an ordinary man.