Jodi McKay was born and raised in the country town of Gloucester. Her father worked in the dairy industry and for the local council. Her mother owned a haberdashery shop.
Jodi moved to Newcastle after finishing school. Starting in a junior administrative role, she worked her way up the ladder to become an award-winning journalist.
Her decision to enter public life came from a desire to help people. Jodi was involved in the creation of the Hunter Medical Research Institute (HMRI) in 2006, then elected as Labor’s Newcastle MP in 2007.
Jodi quickly rose to hold several Ministerial portfolios including Tourism, Women, Commerce, Small Business and Science and Medical Research.
Her achievements include introducing landmark health laws to reduce tobacco-related cancers. She also oversaw the establishment of the Vivid Sydney festival. This now injects more than $173 million into the NSW economy.
In 2011, Jodi’s opponents campaigned against her after she refused to accept a bribe to support a proposed coal terminal in Newcastle. Jodi asked the corruption watchdog and police to investigate, but lost her seat at the election.
An inquiry was later launched into illegal political donations, which led to the resignation of 10 Liberal MPs. Jodi walked out of the inquiry with her reputation enhanced. One newspaper famously described her as “incorruptible”.
Following the 2011 election, Jodi relocated to Sydney and worked in the health non-profit sector. She was elected the MP for Strathfield in 2015 and served as Shadow Minister for Transport and Roads. This year, she became the first NSW Labor Leader to be elected in part through a ballot of the entire membership. She is also the Shadow Minister for Multiculturalism.
Jodi has seen the best and worst of politics – but always stood up for what’s right. Her values of compassion, inclusion and fairness for both city and country people are what drive her as Leader, and as someone who aspires to be the next Premier of NSW.
Jodi lives in Ashfield with her husband Stephen.