When Fiona Phillips wrested the seat of Gilmore for Labor in 2019, she couldn't have predicted the next few tumultuous years for the South Coast electorate.
Disaster after disaster, experienced all over the nation, but crystallised in Gilmore: droughts, the Black Summer bushfires and still ongoing recovery, the COVID-19 pandemic, and now devastating flood cleanup for the second time this year.
The first term MP quickly switched to a role more a kin to disaster management.
"I don't think anybody could have imagined the last three years," Mrs Phillips said.
"Supporting people through some of the most turbulent times we've ever seen has been terrible and tragic in many circumstances ... but also the opportunity to help people has been quite special."
This time around Mrs Phillips will have much tougher competition in the form of former NSW state minister Andrew Constance.
His profile rose during the Black Summer bushfires, where he was on the ground working to save his own home from the flames. Now he is a recognisable face in the electorate.
That fact and the tight margin are partly why Gilmore has been tagged a key seat in the forthcoming election.
But Mrs Phillips is "confident" it will remain red. She insists there is more to be done for the electorate. She would have more clout if an Albanese Labor government was elected.
Mrs Phillips has pledged more mental health services to help the South Coast community heal.
"The Coalition government had committed to a satellite headspace in Batemans Bay which is a lot smaller ... We had a commitment for a full one, I kept hammering that," she said.
"Bushfires, floods and the pandemic have really taken their toll on people's mental health, particularly our young people and acutely around Kiama.
"Local services mean easier, earlier intervention, keeping our young people safer and healthier."
Mrs Phillips been outspoken in her criticism of the Coalition's bushfire response and has demanded more for the South Coast.
Federal Labor has promised an annual budget for disaster mitigation, which Mrs Phillips has promised will be spent.
"One of the biggest disappointments is the complete failure of the Morrison government to spend the money from the Emergency Response Fund," she said.
"We (Labor) will turn that into what we call a Disaster Ready Fund where $200 million is spent per year purely on disaster mitigation.
"One road in and out communities are still feeling vulnerable. They want more surety they will have power and have called for composite power poles."
The electorate of Gilmore, which stretches from Kiama to Tuross Heads, has seen the greatest percentage house price growth of any federal electorate. Rampant price rises and stagnant wages are making housing more out of reach for hundreds on the South Coast, with many forced into homelessness.
Mrs Phillips has promised more social and affordable housing will be delivered to the South Coast if an Albanese Labor Government is elected.
"Our housing Australia Future Fund will be the biggest investment in affordable and social housing that we have seen in decades," Mrs Phillips said.
"Our housing Australia Future Fund will create up to 20,000 social housing properties. And in addition to that 10,000 of affordable housing properties for frontline workers."
Health has also been a priority area, particularly the local doctor shortage in the Shoalhaven area.
"I worked with local GPS and the community and campaign so hard on that," Mrs Phillips said.
"I was told early on by federal health, there's no way that's ever going to change. So that was a big win."
With infrastructure, Mrs Phillips points to million-dollar pledges made for a Sanctuary Point Library. On Thursday, Labor made a $5 million pledge to kickstart the long-discussed Nowra Bypass, which is heralded as a solution to the areas traffic congestion.
"Make no mistake, this is about getting traffic off that highway there and improving the livability and the workability for people in the Nowra area," she said.
A mother of four and former TAFE teacher, Mrs Phillips cut her teeth in politics in 2009, when she led a successful community campaign to save the Nowra Pool.
"I will never forget when they (Shoalhaven City Council) decided they wanted to close the pool," she said.
"I looked around at all the kids enjoying the pool, and I knew a lot of foster kids and carers used it. I decided that couldn't happen. I sent letter after letter at all hours of the morning.
"I thought I should stand up for my community that I love, and then I looked at my TAFE students and thought I could help them too."
It was still a long road to Canberra.
Mrs Phillips made a failed tilt at local government in 2012, and she unsuccessfully took on South Coast MP Shelley Hancock in the NSW election in 2015. In 2016, she came within a whisker of snatching Gilmore from the Coalition.
In 2019, Mrs Phillips was victorious in taking the seat from the Liberals, beating Warren Mundine. It was the ALP's only gain in the country, and Mrs Phillips put the win down to a relentless campaign.
Meantime, her rivals stumbled.
Mr Mundine, a former national president of the ALP, had been handpicked by Prime Minister Scott Morrison to run instead of the pre-selected candidate Grant Schultz, who said: "you can't bully your way into a seat".
The seat became one of the messiest contests in Australia when Mr Schultz stood as an independent.
This time around, along with Mr Constance, Greens' Carmel McCallum and United Australia Party's Dr Jordan Maloney are vying for the seat.
But doorknocking and connecting with the community has instilled Mrs Phillips with confidence.
"You've got to stand up for your community. That's what people want," she said.
"And that's really what I've really focused on over the last three years.
"I feel confident I've done everything humanly possible (to retain the seat)."
Grace Crivellaro is an Illawarra Mercury reporter.
Grace Crivellaro is an Illawarra Mercury reporter.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.