Choat may be a shock entry in Somerset to replace Madden
IN A perfectly timed case of political musical chairs Sean Choat could fill the void left by former Somerset councillor Jim Madden, the man who ousted him from the seat of Ipswich West.
Mr Madden, the new Labor MP in Mr Choat's old seat, has been on leave while on the campaign trail but must now relinquish his position as councillor.
That leaves the door open for another candidate who lives within the council's boundaries to be appointed by Somerset Regional Council.
Mr Choat is set to move in with his family to a home in Glamorgan Vale in the Somerset area and he told the QT a role in council could be for him.
"I have to get back into the workforce and council is something that might suit," he said.
"I did do quite well in some of the Somerset areas of the (Ipswich West) patch.
"I will have a look at it, and if I think it is for me then I will consider it.
"I guess I have unfinished business in terms of lifting the region up a bit.
"But public life is a challenge and the permission has to come from my dear (wife) Nicky.
"My house is in the Somerset in Glamorgan Vale and we are moving in soon."
Somerset Mayor Graeme Lehmann confirmed there would be no by-election in Somerset to replace Mr Madden.
"I believe we have to send a letter out to all the failed candidates from the last (council) election and put an ad in the paper asking if there is anyone else who is interested in being a councillor, and from there we appoint," he said.
"If (Mr Choat) is living in the Somerset and has an address in the Somerset then he could apply. That is up to him.
"I think we have got 21 days from the declaration of polls to appoint someone.
"But no matter who we appoint, someone is not going to be happy."
Mr Lehmann said Mr Choat's situation, in that he is still yet to move in to his home, would require council to examine the technicalities surrounding residency rules.
Either way, Mr Choat could run in next year's council election.
Even Labor Party sources have told the QT that Mr Choat would make an excellent councillor.
One made the comment after listening to him after last week's candidates' forum, where he sounded like a local councillor talking about all the projects he had got over the line and the ones he wanted to see done.
Mr Choat said being out of state party politics in a council environment would "probably suit me".
"Someone said to me, 'You are the least political politician I know'," Mr Choat said.
"I was sick and tired of seeing these presidential-style campaigns. I wanted to make it about local issues and get our fair share, and I think we had a lot of successes.
"I don't think I could have done any more unless I could have cloned myself.
"But it has been a privilege.
"I have met so many people that I wouldn't have had the opportunity to meet, and by that I mean the people in the street who I have grown quite fond of and who drop in and say hello to me.
"I have had a blast, with no regrets.
"I have to accept the umpire's decision and move on to the next phase.
"I'm not sure what that is right now.
"But who knows.
"I might end up back in the railway which would be lovely."