Former Dungog mayor Tracy Norman will contest the Upper Hunter by-election as an Independent.
Ms Norman announced her candidacy on Wednesday after resigning from her position on Dungog Shire Council - where she was mayor for two-and-a-half years during her time as a councillor.
She told the Newcastle Herald she believed the major parties were too focused on mining and that most voters in the Upper Hunter would be more interested in plans for a transition that would be economically beneficial for the region.
Ms Norman also cited connectivity - both in transport and communication - as a key issue for the electorate ahead of the May 22 poll.
"It's inevitable that the coal industry is going to, at some stage, suffer from the fact that the rest of the world is moving on from coal and we need to be transitioning," she said.
"I'm also worried that the Upper Hunter is a very large area with a hugely diverse economy and that everything else about our issues is going to be left behind in the wake of chasing the coal miners' votes.
"I'm worried that the focus is wrong and we should be focusing on transition, so we can provide ongoing employment for coal miners."
Ms Norman resigned as mayor of Dungog in February, 2020, telling the Dungog Chronicle at the time she was standing down because "there are decisions being made that are not in the best interest of ratepayers and residents".
Next month's by-election was called after Nationals MP Michael Johnsen resigned last month following allegations of sexual assault - which Mr Johnsen denies.
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