Seaton Carew’s newly-elected ward councillor Leisa Smith has said she will fight tooth and nail to make the ward a better place.
Coun Smith, of Putting Hartlepool First, was elected this week after winning 474 votes in the contest.
It followed the recent resignation of Independent councillor Paul Thompson due to work commitments.
The 44-year-old married mum-of-three from Seaton, said she was surprised and delighted to be able to represent the ward she grew up in.
She said: “I wasn’t expecting it, although I was in it to win it.
“I thought that Sue Little might win because she has tried so many times and she does care about Seaton.
“Now I am getting to grips with how everything works, what the residents expect of me and what I can do for them.
“I have never been a councillor before, so this is a learning curve.”
The Putting Hartlepool First party is a group of Independent councillors, candidates and supporters who believe that each councillor should be free to vote independently while able to share resources and back office support with other Independent councillors.
Now Coun Smith is looking at signing up to a few committees and says the Adult Services Committee is one she is keen to get involved in.
In her new role, Coun Smith said she will look to make changes that will improve the life of residents in her ward.
She hopes to make an impact with regards to environmental and planning issues, such as making sure the pavements are safe and reducing speeding.
Hartlepool Borough Council comprises of 33 elected Councillors.
The current make-up – with a vacant Victoria Ward seat – is Labour (18), UKIP (6), Independent (2), Local Conservatives (3) and Putting Hartlepool First (3). The by-election results were as follows: Karen King UK Independence Party (UKIP) 148; Sue Little Independent 425; Ann Marshall Labour Party 275; Mike Young Local Conservatives 180.
Coun Smith, who has run her own catering business, Liberty Catering Solutions/Liberty For Lunch for the last 10 years, added: “I will fight for the people of Seaton as much as I am able to.
“I intend to fight tooth and nail to make this ward a better ward.
“I am quite passionate and there is loads that needs to be done in Seaton.
“The only people holding us back are Labour and the Labour councillors.
“They should work with us to make it a better place because in the end we are all Hartlepool.”