ALTHOUGH Queanbeyan City Councillor Sue Whelan recently celebrated the milestone of serving 30 years on council she admitted she never intended to stay on for so long.
"I thought I would serve a couple of terms but being on council it gets into your blood in the end," she said.
"If you're prepared to do the work it can be very fulfilling. When I think about being on council the good always outweighs the disadvantages. I haven't gone blindly into each term ... I've thought a lot about my family.
"I've always reassessed along the way, what did I think I could contribute? What projects were still happening that I wanted to see through to the end?"
Cr Whelan first ran for council in 1983 after she felt younger women and mothers weren't being represented at the local government level.
Even now she is urging other women to put up their hand and get involved.
"We do need a larger number of younger women on council, none of us are going to be there forever, that's just fact," she said.
"We do need women in those decision-making roles, there's no two ways about that. I think they bring a different perspective on things and it's important that that perspective is there."
Cr Whelan said it was a supportive family, particularly her husband John, who helped her balance home life raising their three daughters and her council duties.
"People tell me, 'no, you're different'. No, I'm not different. I'm a wife, I'm a mum and so are you. I'm not different, I suppose I'm just a little bit more prepared to get up and say what I think but anybody can do that - male or female."
Cr Whelan along with former-councillor Hope Marland have both served the longest consecutive term of 30 years. When Cr Whelan finishes the current term she will have served 33 years, six of those as deputy mayor, and she hasn't ruled out a return to council.
"At this stage I'll certainly run again for another term. Obviously things can change but it's been a privilege to serve and I've just been stoked by the support from the public [in response to reaching 30 years on council]," she said.
"I'd like to think I've made a contribution to this town and from the feedback I've received I think other people feel that way too."