Friday, 8 March 2013

2013 County Council Candidates - from 20 year olds to seasoned veterans

I am pleased to say Hexham Conservatives have launched their local election campaign with a pledge to fight every seat in Tynedale and Ponteland.
As well as nine sitting Councillors standing for re-election, we have eight excellent new candidates.
Among them will be Jade Scott, my apprentice from Prudhoe. Jade began working for the me soon after I took office in 2010. If you call the Hexham office you will often speak to her; I was the first MP to take on an apprentice.
Jade has now completed her apprenticeship in Business Administration after working in my busy Hexham Office and has now decided to take her first steps into front line politics. She will be standing in Prudhoe South.
I have been so impressed with her I handed the young apprentice a year long contract to join my team. She is a real worker. It is really important we support local young people to get into politics. Jade already has experience of working hard for local people and would make an excellent local Councillor. She will go on to do brilliant things I'm sure.
I am hopeful of gains in the elections despite the Conservatives already holding 12 out of the 17 seats making up the Hexham constituency.
We do have some tough fights, but I think our record of working all year round will win through. Our canvass suggests we can add another 2 or 3 seats, but we will see on the day.
We have seen from the by elections last year how unpopular the local Lib Dems are. They ended up fourth in one of the recent by-elections. I think its not too much of stretch to say it is very likely they will have no seats in Tynedale after May's elections.
One of our big battles with the Liberal Democrats is in Hexham West where former paramedic and Leazes Town Councillor, Colin Cessford, is taking on Lib Dem Derek Kennedy who has just a 250 vote majority over the Conservatives. Cllr Cessford was elected to the Town Council last year taking the seat from the Liberal Democrats with almost 60% of the vote.

Colin says "When I retired from the Ambulance Service I never imagined I would end up in local politics but I have really enjoyed it. There is a real sense on the doorstep that we need change at County Hall"

Not all of our candidates hoping to be elected are newcomers to fighting elections. In the Bywell Divison former Tynedale District Councillor Fiona Hunter is looking to take back the seat she once represented for the Conservatives.

Mrs Hunter previously represented the area on Tynedale beating sitting Independent Councillor Paul Kelly, who is currently the County Councillor. Fiona says "The County Council has forgot about us here in Tynedale. If I win my seat I hope to take the message loud and clear to Morpeth that Tynedale won't be ignored any longer."

Two other candidates for the Conservatives will be looking to take over from sitting Conservative Councillors. Cath Homer in Hexham East is hoping to inherit Ingrid Whale's healthy majority after being endorsed by the popular County Councillor.
Well known Parish Councillor Rupert Gibson is also hoping to take over in the Humshaugh Division after being recommended by retiring County Councillor Conservative Councillor Edward Heslop.
Finally, in Prudhoe North I am delighted that Gerry Price has answered the call and decided to run for elected office
The Conservatives new candidates are:
Jade Scott - Prudhoe South
Gerry Price - Prudhoe North
Fiona Hunter - Bywell
Paul Vickers - Stocksfield
Will Green - Haydon and Hadrian
Colin Cessford - Hexham West
Cath Homer - Hexham East
Rupert Gibson - Humshaugh

Conservative candidates up for re-relection:
Peter Jackson - Ponteland South with Heddon
Veronica Jones - Ponteland West
Richard Dodd - Ponteland North
Eileen Armstrong - Ponteland East
Terry Robson - Hexham Central
Colin Horncastle - South Tynedale
Ian Hutchinson - Haltwhistle
John Riddle - Bellingham
Jean Fearon - Corbridge