What got you interested in politics?
I've always been interested in politics. I grew up in a house where BBC RADIO 4 was the background noise. Politics just kind of seeped in. I have never understood people who don't ‘do’ politics. I feel they've missed the point politics happens whether you like it or not not partaking seems ludicrous.
Have you always voted?
Yes, and until 2015 I must say I was taken in by the LibDems claim that they were the tactical vote. (I wasn't a Labour Party member then, obviously!)
What made you stand as a local councillor?
I decided to run for St. Blaise Town Council after a Labour councillor report to St. Blazey Labour Branch meeting at which reported the town was raising it's precept by 6%. I thought this was a bit steep considering low inflation and St. Blazey being a deprived area. I attended a Cornwall Council fayre where they were encouraging people to stand. After hearing a list of decisions Cornwall Council faced in its term I decided to put myself up for Par and St Blazey Gate. As that seat covered two parish councils I ran for both. I didn't win the Cornwall Council Seat but I did get a seat on the two local councils.
What surprised you most about the role?
I must say that at the Town and Parish level the biggest surprise is that everyone works together no matter what their party allegiances. It's bemusing to hear Councillors gripe about decisions their government have made.
What do you think is the most important aspect of the Town/Parish Council?
I think most important aspect of working on council is taking on the extra duties of the council, not just sitting in the meetings. For example I sit on a community organisation committee, I attend the local flood watch meetings and other try to help with other community groups.
What would you change if you could?
I like to think I've already changed the council meetings by simply not being afraid to ask questions of the clerk, my fellow councillors and the reporting Conservative Cornwall councillors.
What part of the role do you enjoy most?
There is an element of satisfaction which comes from being busy and it is great to partake in the community where the changes you help to make can be a daily visual reminder.
Do you feel you were well-prepared for the role?
I think that, as with any volunteer role, the role is what you make of it. You could certainly be a councillor and do less. The basic role is turning up for meetings.
What advice would you give someone thinking of standing?
I would encourage them to do so. So many communities seem to be tied together by too few people. From a Labour Party perspective it would help if our members got out into the communities and engaged their neighbours between elections.
What do you wish the electorate knew about the role of local councils?
I wish the electorate would understand the roles of different councils and pay more interest in their local communities. It’s not always clear what the local council is responsible and it depends on the council but if you see a problem in the community then reporting it to the local council is a start. As Cornwall Council struggles to provide services quite often local councils are picking up the slack! St. Blazey has just adopted a park, bought it’s “old” police station and is planning on building a community centre. Tywardreath and Par have adopted the public toilets on Par Beach and are looking at ways of keeping its library.
How long have you been a local councillor?
I've been a councillor since May 2017.
This blog will be created by members of the Exec committee on topics of interest to the St Austell & Newquay Labour Party