Hartlepool goes to the polls on Thursday in the latest local elections.
But who will get your vote in the Rural West ward? Here’s what the candidates have to say, which might help you make up your mind.
Ray Martin-Wells (Local Conservatives)
Since you first elected me in 2010, I’ve become the Chairman of Hartlepool Council’s Audit and Governance Committee.
I’ve also taken on another unpaid role as the Regional Chairman of the North East Health Scrutiny Committee.
This has helped me deal with many more issues that affect you.
I’ve addressed the lack of fully trained paramedics covering Hartlepool, ensured there was no significant reduction in policing, saved the Special Care Baby Unit and stopped the imminent closure of the town IVF Fertility Unit by taking the Hospital Trust to the High Court in London.
Of course, I’ve still continued to look after ward issues, including securing two new crossings for Ward Jackson Park and the addition of 20mph zones to help protect the young and vulnerable.
As promised, since being re-elected in 2012, Local Conservatives continue to be the only political party to refuse to accept a single penny of expenses.
Please help me continue to be a strong voice for you in Rural West by voting for me on 5th May.
Syed Shahan Miah (Labour)
I am standing for council to help make a difference to Hartlepool.
Our town is transforming for the better and we are seeing new opportunities and investment.
If elected I will work with local residents to address issues in the area.
I am a hard working individual and will work hard for the area.
Chris Cassidy (UKIP)
Since I moved to Hartlepool a couple of years ago, the town has quickly become the place I call home.
With great people, vibrant communities and stunning surroundings, it’s obvious to see why so many people are passionate about retaining Hartlepool’s independence and identity.
It’s this passion to protect our town that has led me to stand for election and seek your support.
Rural West faces threats from green-belt development to the closure of our health services, not to mention the threat of a combined authority that will reduce our say on our great town.
I want the chance to fight hard to protect our local services, bring back our A&E and freeze Council Tax to help hard-working families.
UKIP are the only party with strong support across the town that can challenge the complacent Labour politicians.
Please support me in my fight to protect our great town.
Michael Holt (Green Party)
I’m standing in Rural West because I feel that we’re out on a limb.
The public transport policies of Labour and Tory governments have meant that services in our area have been cut to the bone.
It is impossible to get a bus after 6 o’clock at night. This means that older people who can’t afford to drive, or don’t feel safe driving, are trapped in their homes on an evening.
The Green Party has the best policies for reconnecting rural communities to the town.
They want to reregulate public transport so companies provide us with a workable service and to reverse the decades of neglect.
The back-roads are incredibly dangerous for cyclists. If elected as a Councillor I will work with charities such as Sustrans to turn existing footpaths into cycle tracks, allowing people to travel into the centre of town from rural communities safely.
The quality of broadband in Rural West is a joke.
I will work with parish councils to put together a joint campaign to force BT Open Reach into giving us the Superfast broadband that they are contracted to provide us but have yet to fulfil in parts of Rural West.