This is the latest feature in the run-up to the local elections next month.
We will concentrate on a ward each day and today is the De Bruce ward.
Each day we will give each candidate the opportunity to tell Mail readers why they are standing and why residents should vote for them.
There are four candidates for the De Bruce Ward who are hopeful of being elected on to Hartlepool Borough Council on May 3.
Here’s what they have to say.
JAMES BARKER (INDEPENDENT)
My name is James Barker and I’m the Independent candidate representing the De-Bruce Ward.
I put myself forward as a candidate because as a disabled person myself suffering a complex and chronic illness, I don’t believe that the council understands the financial hardships of people who are disabled or the residents who go to work and receive a low income, I’ve already proposed a Council Tax Hardship Scheme to ease the financial burdens on residents, not just for those in the De Bruce Ward but for all of Hartlepool.
I have also cleaned up Garside Drive and Bruce Crescent of the fly-tipping issues that have blighted the neighbourhood for several months and I made the public aware just how much Hartlepool Borough Council holds of your money in reserves.
I’ve spent most of my life living in West View & King Oswy, so I know the De Bruce Ward well. I know the people here and I know the issues that are causing residents in the ward problems.
The De Bruce Ward residents, like most of Hartlepool, now feel abandoned by the Labour Party and many residents have signalled they want change; you have that chance on May 3.
KAREN KING (THE FOR BRITAIN MOVEMENT)
My name is Karen King, and I live in the De Bruce Ward. I have a background in teaching and volunteer work. I spent 15 years as an EFL teacher and acting as a volunteer charity fundraiser.
I love this community so much, and I love helping the people who live here.
Local councillor Stephen Thomas voted last year to increase the basic allowance of councillors by 31% – and there are four people in the council who earn six-figure salaries.
This is so wrong, especially when we still have many problems in our community. We have social deprivation, unmaintained roads and pavements, dog fouling, and local businesses being shut down – but council officials think they deserve pay rises?
This year, the council voted to increase YOUR council tax by 4.9%. I say no! No to councillors being given pay rises and I say yes to improving public services and giving residents a voice! With your support, we can crack down on waste, support local pensioners in need, and tackle unemployment. Give me, and my party, The ‘For Britain’ Movement a chance, and I won’t let you down!
STEPHEN THOMAS (LABOUR)
I am standing for re-election as your councillor. Since I was elected in 2014 we have faced many challenges as a result of the savage budget cuts imposed upon us by a Tory government.
Despite this, your local Labour councillors have worked hard to ensure that local residents are listened to, have a voice and get the best possible local services.
Over the last four years I have:
* Held regular ward surgeries and street surgeries;
* Worked with residents to establish local resident groups;
* Produced ward newsletters and kept you informed of what is happening in the area;
* Worked with fellow ward councillors Brenda Harrison and Rob Cook and partner organisations to fight anti-social behaviour and crime;
* Supported initiatives which protect our environment and keep our neighbourhoods safe;
* Always listened to your problems and concerns and done my utmost to ensure they are acted upon;
* As Chair of Adult Services I have worked hard to ensure that vulnerable people across the town receive high quality care and excellent support services which allow service users to live independently and safely.
Vote Stephen Thomas, I will not let you down.
MIKE YOUNG (CONSERVATIVE)
De Bruce Ward residents have a simple choice on the 3rd of May, Conservatives or Labour.
In past elections some of you put your faith in UKIP and elected six UKIP Councillors, five of them repaid your faith by abandoning UKIP and becoming independents.
Many of the six only stood for UKIP after falling out with several political groups they had previously been members of, now they’ve even abandoned UKIP.
Worse than that some of the ex-UKIP and the majority of the other independent councillors publicly voted against the councillors’ increase in allowances, then privately arranged for the same increases to be paid into their banks. Can you trust independents?
If you want the councillors representing your ward to have any influence in maintaining and improving your area, then only the two traditional parties can help.
A vote for an Independent is a vote wasted, Independents have no influence within the council and therefore they cannot change any political policies or decisions you are unhappy with.
Only Conservatives can hold the council to account, vote Conservative on May 3.