Will Smith didn't think he would end up in politics until later in life - then he got a call from Ivan Dean.
The 28-year-old was "handpicked" by the retiring member for Windermere as the one to pass his independent torch to.
So, after some careful consideration, Mr Smith quit his day job as a Launceston police officer and hit the campaign trail.
"I was humbled to think he [Ivan] would endorse me. I also put value on the fact that I didn't put my name forward - I was sought out by someone who was in the role," he said.
"I thought, this is something I really should have a crack at. It's a great representation to the young people I work with every day.
"I constantly say to them - 'put yourself out of your comfort zone and showcase your leadership. Leadership is positive action in the community'. I really had to reflect on what have I done recently that showcases that to them."
With only days left until Tasmanians take to the polls, Mr Dean said it was imperative that people know who they are voting for.
Born in Launceston and growing up in the Meander Valley, Mr Smith doesn't shy away from talking about the challenges he faced when asked about his childhood.
This includes the fact that he "grew up in a shed", living without electricity, running water or a flushing toilet for eight years.
As a teenager, he found a sense of purpose through sport - particularly junior football. And, after taking part in a program aimed at-risk youth, his course shifted.
In 2020, his decade-long body of work assisting vulnerable youth was recognised with Mr Smith named the state recipient of the Young Australian of the Year award for his efforts as the director of JCP Empowering Youth and Edmund Rice Camps in Tasmania.
He even spent time in Syria setting up soccer teams for young people in ISIS recruitment areas.
Now, with the upper house set firmly in his sights - even if it does seem like an unlikely place for a 28-year-old - Mr Smith said his age shouldn't be seen as a disadvantage.
"I stepped away from a good salary, a good job and something I really enjoyed, because I want to offer a service to the community," he said.
"A lot of people will look at my age and without knowing me, or my story, and will question my experience.
"I just encourage people to look at what I have done and what I have achieved in the past 10 years.
"I don't think you would find someone double my age who has serviced the community through a tactical operational role, in the special operations group, whose worked with legislation as a prosecutor in our courts, who has worked in an investigative role with the drug squad, who has been able to have a massive impact across our state, country and even other parts of the world."
Mr Smith is one of three independent candidates standing for Windermere - something he sees as an integral part of the Legislative Council.
Living by the core values of honesty, integrity and fairness, he says if the major parties hold a majority in the upper house, it will serve no purpose.
"I think it's so important to recognise that we must step into this role without favour or compromise," he said.
"Whoever forms government after May 1, I will guarantee that government - Labor or Liberal - they will have my support.
"But I will also be in a position where I will scrutinise them. I will review what they do and I will hold them accountable.
"I think it's also important to support them. Because as a government we can't achieve what we want within the electorate, we can't achieve success for our most vulnerable in the community, unless the government works well."
As for whether he considers himself a progressive or conservative, Mr Smith said he would leave that for the critics to decide.
"I just look at every decision that needs to be made, every legislation, and I look at it with common sense and with the ability to make the decision that benefits the electorate and the state as a whole," he said.
"Whichever way people consider that to slide on the scale, I will leave that to the experts. But for me personally, I don't want to put myself on a scale.
"I think there are some areas where I fall well right, and some areas where people think I fall far left. My life is probably a good representation of that."
Given his background and his mentor in Mr Dean, it's no surprise that Mr Smith is passionate about the law. Doorknocking over the past few weeks, he said one of the key concerns being raised with him was crime.
"Particularly in George Town and through the Northern Suburbs, a lot of people are concerned about low level crime," he said.
"A lot of people feel unsafe in their community. For me, not one of the major parties has committed an election promise to address that.
"There's solutions that can make people feel a lot safer in our communities, and we're not doing it."
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