AS part of the Mail’s 2014 local elections coverage, we will be focusing on all 11 wards in Hartlepool where seats are up for grabs.
The Mail will be profiling the 49 candidates who want your vote and examining the issues that are affecting local residents ahead of the election on Thursday, May 22.
Our coverage continues with the De Bruce Ward.
JOANNE BANKS (PUTTING HARTLEPOOL FIRST)
“My name is Joanne Banks. I’m someone who has decided to stop grumbling under my breath and presuming everything is out of my hands and instead to do something about it.
“This council needs a more common sense approach which reflects what the people of Hartlepool want and not what a few councillors want.
“We need councillors who listen, genuinely empathise but, most importantly, that do something.
“If you vote for me, your voice WILL be heard.
“I know the issues that affect you because you’ve told me: the anti-social behaviour, the dog dirt, poor bus services and the hospital. You probably think no one is listening - well I am.
“I’m determined to restore a sense of community spirit and pride in De Bruce Ward and to help make it a better place to live. I have both the passion and drive to make it happen.”
JEAN McKENNA (CONSERVATIVE)
“Hello, my name is Jean McKenna and I am standing as your candidate in the De Bruce ward.
“I am a retired nurse and currently work self-employed in adult education.
“The De Bruce ward matters to me greatly, as it is part of my local area. I would like to see that the De Bruce ward gets the investment it urgently requires and that the council speeds up the development of the former Steetley site.
“If I am elected, I would make it a priority that the work on this proposed site is accelerated, so that we can have an outstanding coastal development, including the former Brus Arms site to become part of this regeneration.
“I will also make it a priority to support the local services we all rely on, and to make sure your needs are represented by the local council.”
MICHELLE PLANT (LIBERAL DEMOCRATS)
“I live in Woodstock Way and am easily contactable when needed.
“I served four years as a councillor for the ward 2007-11, attending health, planning committees and working at the adult training centre.
“All issues that came to me when I was a councillor where dealt with promptly and I will continue in that vein if elected by representing the people of the De Bruce ward for what they need instead of what others decide or are prepared to give them.
“Communicating the needs of the community is the most important job of your councillor and the best way to do this is by meeting, listening to and talking to individuals and community groups and then ﬁghting their corner.
“My intention if elected is:
• Deal with at ward monthly meetings.
• Fight for improved transport links
• Keep you informed
“A vote for me is a vote for you.”
STEPHEN THOMAS (LABOUR)
“I was born and grew up in Hartlepool and am immensely proud of my home town.
“I live with my wife Sylvia and have two teenage sons. I worked in local government for over 20 years and currently work in the voluntary sector.
“I have strong socialist values and firmly believe that local councillors must be accountable to the community they serve at all times.
“They must listen to the views and concerns of residents and ensure that they are acted upon.
“If elected I will fight hard to ensure that the De Bruce Ward always has fair and appropriate access to funding and services and has a strong voice.
“I will work closely with local communities and fellow Labour councillors and want all residents to enjoy a clean, safe and caring neighbourhood in which to live.
“Please support me by voting Labour on May 22nd.”
RONNIE WHITLOCK (UKIP)
“The threatened closure of Hartlepool Hospital is putting the lives of us all in danger, it is an unforgivable act.
“This is a result of gross maladministration by the entire council – they must be held to account.
“Also, if elected I will push for a return to weekly bin collections.
“I know many of you wish to see the end of the fortnightly collection policy.
“It must, of course, be always remembered that we have this policy inflicted upon us because of the punitive fines structure of the EU Landfill Directive.
“I will ensure that voters are made aware of the connection.
“I will fight to see The Northern Lights Academy used to its full potential following the large investment in its creation.
“Until we leave the European Union problems such as the bin collection issue cannot be resolved by local government.”