Johnathan Davis isn't being symbolic when he says the people of Tuggeranong pretty much raised him.
A lifelong, self-described "creature" of Canberra's deep south, it was community members that housed him and kept a roof over his head in some of his darkest moments.
As he puts it, he had an interesting upbringing and childhood, moving out of home when he was just 14 years old in an attempt to hit the reset button on life.
Family breakdown, caring for a close family member with a drug addiction, and grappling with his sexuality led to the perfect storm.
"Everyone usually has some sort of crisis, but I managed to get them all in there," he says.
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The new Greens MLA, elected in October to the seat of Brindabella, says now is his chance to give back to the community that got him through those tough times.
"I wouldn't encourage every young person to move out of home at 14," he says.
"But, what I would say is that ... the way I cope with things not always being perfect is saying, 'Well I'm really happy with the person I am today, warts and all, and the person that I am today is the culmination of life's experience, some good and some bad, and if I really like how I am today, then I can't hold too much against the bad'," he says.
"Moving out of home quite young and relying quite heavily on my school community and people who supported me in that space, relying quite heavily on my friends and their parents, really fostered in me, not just community in a broader sense ... but it instilled in me an appreciation for how uniquely well we do that in Tuggeranong."
Davis had a complex relationship with his father growing up, in part because of his hesitation to come out as gay to him.
These days, the now 29-year-old describes his father as his best friend. Davis says it was his decision to be open with his father about his sexuality as an 18-year-old that helped mend fences.
"Through honest and open dialogue, through sharing, through mutual respect and love, you can get through any drama, any disagreement, any conflict," Davis says.
"To think at age 14 I moved out of home and wanted no relationship with my parents and now I am a 29-year-old man who can honestly say my best friend is my dad.
"That didn't happen by accident."
Davis was confident heading into the October election, dismissing views that Tuggeranong was too conservative to elect a Greens MLA.
He knew there was a large chunk of unaccounted votes from the 2016 election, after the Sex Party snared almost 8 per cent of the vote.
It was unlikely those people would move their vote to the Liberal party so they were well and truly in play, Davis believed.
He also believed Tuggeranong residents were far more socially progressive than they were given credit for.
But not many other people - even those in his own party - shared his optimism.
Liberal MLA Mark Parton famously quipped he was "too gay for Tuggeranong".
"There were a lot of people in my own party who were like, 'Good on Johno for running in Tuggeranong, but Johno Davis MLA probably isn't something we're going to be seeing, but good on him for running the good fight down there'," Davis says.
"It was very satisfying to see those numbers come in on the night and even stare down a few people in my own party and say we might have done this."
Davis has not had a lifelong affiliation with the Greens.
He first got politically involved during the fight to save schools from closure under the Stanhope government in 2006.
But it initially led him to the Liberal Party, working for the likes of Brendan Smyth in the Legislative Assembly.
Through this experience he witnessed the work of then Greens crossbencher Deb Foskey.
He admired her ability to get stuff done and stand up for the rights of her constituents.
All the more impressive to him was the fact she did it while Labor had an absolute majority.
"I fell in love with parliamentarism and the work of the local legislature," Davis says.
After school, he worked as a real estate agent until his election last year.
He acknowledges for some this career path could be seen to contradict traditional left values.
But he says the job, which does not require a university degree, presents a valuable opportunity for someone from a working class background with his skill set to be successful.
"For all that can be said about the real estate industry, for a working class kid from Tuggeranong, it didn't actually present a barrier to entry," Davis says.
"My politics hadn't fully formed to completely understand the complexity of the housing market or issues of homelessness and poverty in a real development of policy kind of way.
"All I saw at that time was a personal need to get by, and a career path I could take where my income would be measured by how hard I worked."
Davis has promised to stick by an election pledge to open an office in Tuggeranong.
The office would need to be funded by himself or the party.
He says politics needs to be more accessible - both for voters and potential candidates.
At the moment, the only people who can make a serious run for political office are those who can afford to not work for months in the lead up to the campaign. That, Davis says, needs to change.
While the Greens are essentially in a coalition with Labor, having three members in cabinet, Davis says he will not be shackled by this.
"I didn't sign away my rights to be an effective local member, I didn't sign away my rights as an effective cross bencher," he says.
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