Glen Fredericks owned the Newcastle cafe Empire Coffee Co., which was known for its charity fund raisers incorporating well-known characters from Star Wars, super heroes and other movies and comics.
The business was heavily impacted by the light rail construction underway in the Newcastle CBD, ultimately forcing Mr Fredericks to close his doors for good.
Mr Fredericks played a central role in establishing a class action against the NSW government on behalf of local businesses left out of pocket by the resulting downturn in foot traffic.
Yet it was a staff member and friend’s experience with domestic violence that ultimately spurred him to stand for election in this month’s state election.
“I had a staff member and friend being subjected to domestic violence and the worst type of cyber stalking by a maniac intent on ruining not only her life, but the lives of everyone around her,” Mr Fredericks said.
“She had difficulty eliciting from overworked police the level of protection she needed, so I took her to see the local member. Despite a face-to-face meeting and subsequent emails, he did absolutely nothing.”
Mr Fredericks will stand as a candidate for The Small Business Party, whose founder Angela Vithoulkas recently appeared on the My Business podcast to outline her party's policy stances.
“Glen is a local business leader who recognised the impacts of light rail and poor government planning here in Newcastle and reached out to me in the hope of getting some assistance,” Ms Vithoulkas said.
“Glen’s concern for his local area, his understanding of the issues facing the community, and his unwavering desire to help the people of Newcastle are exactly the right qualities for a great civic leader.”
According to Mr Fredericks, his priority should he win the seat of Newcastle from incumbent Labor MP Timothy Crakanthorp is the removal of fees for Out of School Hours (OOSH) Care, which he said is a major issue for working parents.
“If we can do that and fight for reduced power charges, we are on a winner,” he said.