Shane Rattenbury’s chief of staff, Indra Esguerra, her boss and former MLA Caroline Le Couteur are the Greens’ lead candidates for the 2016 territory elections.
Esguerra was a Greens candidate for the Senate at the last Federal election alongside lead candidate Simon Sheikh and ran for the seat of Fraser in 2010.
The long-time political staffer said the key difference this time around was that she’s only run for Federal office in the past.
“I’ve never run in a winnable seat before even though I tried to give Andrew Leigh a run for his money [for the seat of Fraser in 2010 when she won a respectable 19.8 per cent of the vote].”
She will have to leave her role in Mr Rattenbury’s office at an appropriate time next year and that will leave a hole.
“The role I play there is fairly crucial to keeping the team going,” she said.
“But I’ll be wanting to leave anyway mid-way through the year to campaign”.
Ms Esguerra worked as a senior adviser to Ms Le Couteur for three and half years during her previous stint as an MLA and was on Deb Foskey’s staff before that.
Asked whether making the move from working for Mr Rattenbury and Ms Le Couteur to becoming their Assembly colleague presented any issues, Ms Esguerra said, “We’re the Greens so we’re all pretty equal anyway.”
She said the additional seats in 2016 would mean more diversity and brain power in the Assembly and its committees.
If elected, her number one goal will be to ensure that existing Greens policies that have been implemented or are on track for implementation remain in place in light of attempts by the Liberals to undermine them. She put the light rail project in this category.
Other priorities included continuing work on water quality for the whole of Canberra through urban waterways rehabilitation, improving public transport and increased levels of public housing.
She hopes to make a difference in active travel in Ginninderra, by making Belconnen Town Centre more accessible and people-friendly, including for cyclists, for example.
“There’s a lot of good things in train, we just need to keep the train going,” she said.
The Greens have named 15 candidates for the expanded Legislative Assembly altogether, with staffer for Federal Greens Leader Richard Di Natale Jennifer Faerber among them.
She is running in the same electorate as Ms Le Couture, Murrumbidgee (Woden-Weston). Emma Davidson is the other support candidate in that electorate.
Ms Esguerra is the lead candidate in Ginninderra (Belconnen) ahead of support candidates Richard Merzian and Jason Chappel.
Mr Rattenbury is top of the list in Kurrajong (inner north and south) with support candidates Rebecca Vassarotti and Jillian Thomsen.
Tougher seats for the Greens are Brindabella (Tuggeranong) and Yerrabi (Gungahlin). Candidates for those seats are Michael Mazengarb, Ben Murphy and Johnathan Davis (Brindabella) and Veronica Wensing, Andrew Braddock and Tobias Holm (Yerrabi).
As a sitting Greens MLA and a minister in the current Labor-Green government, Mr Rattenbury has profile and experience to help him over the line. The Greens anticipate Ms Esguerra and Ms Le Couteur will join him in the Assembly and once again join forces with Labor MLAs to form government.
Read full candidate bios here.