Hello Newton Abbot Members and all,
I see your comment that candidates should let themselves be known!!!!! So here is a bit of information about me, Jackie Jackson, standing (hopefully) for Newton Abbot South, (Buckland, Milber and College Wards!)
I have voted labour for all of my voting life, but a year ago I became a member of the party, because I was unhappy with how the government is acting nationally, over the NHS, and social care, and over education. I hate the appalling cruelty of the effects of inflexible work assessments, and benefit cuts. I am unhappy that we have so many working people included amongst the homeless and so much child poverty, even in our beautiful area locally.
In my previous work as a headteacher, here in Devon, I have had to take children to foodbanks, to help families who need social support, or disabled children and parents who have hit rock bottom.
Since I became interested in becoming a local councillor, I have looked at the local data and thought hard about what it means. For example, I know that whilst in Tower Hamlets child poverty levels are around 43%, (almost every other child,) even in our beautiful county of Devon the level is still as high as 22% (1 in 5 children) and in Buckland as high as 25% (1 in 4 children).
I want to see a labour government tackle these things and so much more! I want to see us all pull together, to stop infighting and present ourselves as a formidable force against the Tory Government – I can’t bear to think of a further term of Tory rule…
The Devon County Council election for candidates is in May, there is a District Council Election in two years’ time, and there could be a snap general election at any moment! If our goal is electoral success, then this is the time to start building up the party at a local and national level. It’s a time for letting constituents locally know that we exist, that we care and that we will challenge the Tory strategies, locally and nationally. We need to become a known and strong force for good in our area, by being active, and we need to regain votes from the strong liberal and conservative hold and also from more recent UKIP growth.
Locally, priorities do not always reflect those we see as important nationally. My door knocking so far has shown me that issues locally are sometimes closer to the ground – people are concerned about traffic, dog poo, potholes and brambles. They are sometimes lonely and don’t feel part of the community, or they have problems accessing services, or even knowing how to register to vote. I need, as a candidate, to start there, asking, listening, championing and being an advocate, I need, on their behalf, to challenge local government decisions, and campaign on local issues. I need to collect information and use it, both for the party and for the local people. It’s about local government, and local issues, but if I do well at this level, we are also contributing to the goal of constituency and national election success.
In the recent months there has been a surge of new members for the labour party, but the trouble is we haven’t been successful in connecting with them locally. We need to encourage members to come together to get to know each other, to gain some courage and hope and strength from talking and socialising with others who feel as we do, and to find out what each of us can do to help the labour party grow in this area. I feel strongly I can rally local members and encourage them to support the party at grass roots level.
When I first joined as a member – I thought joining was enough - that I had done my bit - but I am realising that there is so much more we can do if we meet face to face; if we talk and listen, prioritise and act!
I want to be a local Devon County Council Labour Candidate. I want to be the candidate for South Newton Abbot because I know the area well, and it’s close to home. I am aware that people think that it is an unwinnable ward, but that raises the challenge, and makes me want to try harder. Most of all I like being with and working with people. I like being part of a team, and I will work with the whole constituency team and follow their lead and their priorities, but I will work very hard in Buckland, and Milber too because I already care about, and empathise with the people I have met and talked with, and I would like to champion and support them. So I hope that you will support me, so that I can get out there and work hard for the constituency, the local people and for the labour party…
So, there you are Pete Smith, I have responded to your request on the blog! Best wishes. Jackie