ACT Labor’s newest MLA Dr Marisa Paterson is so much more than that.
Marisa is a mother of three young children, the former Director of the Centre for Gambling Research at the Australian National University, and a passionate member of the Murrumbidgee electorate – just to name a few.
“I have been in Canberra for 15 years in Weston Creek, this will be my first step into politics,” she said.
“I ran because I wanted to make a contribution to our community, and I felt we needed strong representation in this electorate.”
Marisa has expertise in mental health and has worked closely with governments and organisations across Australia, including in remote Indigenous communities.
She believed her background and being a local member of her community gave her an advantage during the 2020 ACT election campaign.
“Initially I want to be close to the ground and understand what people in the electorate want,” she said.
“On a broader level, I am really passionate about mental health as well as creating training and education opportunities for young people.
“I think people are looking for someone fresh with new ideas outside a political party. I guess my research career gives me perspective that I can bring to the role.”
With a PhD in Anthropology and a Master of Applied Anthropology and Participatory Development, Marisa is no stranger to hard work.
She is focused on helping the recovery of the Territory coming out of COVID-19, including both economically and socially, while being heavily involved within her electorate.
“There are five MLAs that are representing the electorate and I believe everyone should have face-to-face contact with at least one of those and I think that hasn’t always been the case,” she said.
“I think there were some MLAs that do work in that way but there were some that were focused on Assembly business priorities. What I value in a leader is that face-to-face individualised.”
In terms of Marisa’s long-term goal, she is taking every day as it comes.
“My goal was just to get here. The votes are official today and it’s very exciting,” she said.
This profile on ACT Labor MLA Marisa Paterson is part of a series Canberra Weekly is running on all of the ACT’s newly elected MLAs following the 2020 ACT election.