I've not posted for ages as I've been ill and then with what energy I have had focusing - as I'm sure you'll understand - on my main job and my council work rather than posting on my blog.
Anyway someone else who is sticking around is my colleague and comrade in Whitley ward Mike Orton who we have just announced is standing again for election in 2012. He's a hugely experienced and able councillor, who knows WHitley insie out and is trusted across the community, from established areas, such as where he lives in Whitleywood, to the new part of Whitley on Kennet Island.
He's also a cabinet member with responsibility for adult social care, the area where the council both spends huge amounts of money and serves people at a very vulnerable time in their lives. As a new cabinet member I always find in our discussions he brings both knowledge of how similar situations have been faced in the past along with a flexibility of thinking and willingness to try something new. He's always focused on what things mean for the residents we serve.
In short I'm delighted he has chosen to stand again and Whitley members backed him.
One of our new candidates is Eileen McElligott who is standing in the neighbouring ward to Whitley of Church ward.. Paul Woodward our councillor elected there last May has hit the ground running and worked incredibly hard for the area and we wanted to be sure of a candidate who would be the same - Eileen is that. She's passionate and will bring great experience from her existing roles - she's a school governor, works as an IT specialist and has 3 children. She's also committed to getting results for residents and will be a brilliant councillor.
A full list of our candidates is below (we will be contesting Mapledurham but haven't selected our candidate yet):
Wards where Labour councillors are standing again:
Labour Leader Jo Lovelock (Norcot) and Deputy Leader Tony Page (Abbey) head Labour’s list of candidates for the Borough elections on 3 May 2012. Cllr. Lovelock says the party has a mix of experienced hands and new talent all keen to continue to take Reading forward in these difficult times.
Also standing again are Reading’s Mayor Deborah Edwards (Southcote) and Deputy Mayor Gul Khan (Battle). Lead Councillor for Adult Social Care Mike Orton (Whitley) is also seeking re-election.
Labour councillors stepping down:
In Minster, Debbie Watson is not seeking re-election as her job now gives her responsibilities across the south-east of England. Labour’s candidate will be mother of three Liz Terry, who was born and grew up in Reading and is a former senior executive in local government.In Park, Jon Hartley is standing down as he is moving to London with his partner. Labour’s candidate will be Rachael Chrisp, a ward resident who works in recruitment. Rachael is Reading Labour Party’s Women’s Officer and has been leading the campaign to highlight the way the Coalition’s policies have hit women twice as hard as men
Wards were we are challenging an incumbent (except where that incumbent is stepping down, as all the Libdems up for election are...)
Richard Davies is Labour’s candidate in Caversham, where he has lived for the last ten years, and his two older children are at Thameside Primary where his wife used to be a teacher. He owns and runs a small IT company.
Labour’s candidate in Church, one of the three seats the party won back this year, will be mother of three Eileen McElligott, who was born in Reading and has lived here all her life. Eileen is an IT specialist working in the pharmaceuticals industry, who says she is fed up with how Reading is being ripped off by the Conservative Government.
In Katesgrove, which Labour won from the LibDems this year, the party’s candidate will be Rose Williams, who previously represented Southcote, was a popular Mayor and brings huge experience to the role. She stood down to care for her ageing parents during their final years, has worked in banking and retail but is now “retired”, a tenants’ rep on her housing association and involved with several charities.
Daya Pal Singh will be standing again for Labour in Kentwood, where this year he reduced the Tory majority to 210 votes. A prominent member of the Sikh Gurdwara, Daya Pal owns runs a news agent and off licence on Oxford Road.
David Absolom, who runs a gardening business with his wife and who stood in Peppard this year, is Labour’s candidate there again.
Another former Mayor, Tony Jones, is Labour’s candidate in Redlands, the other seat the party won from the LibDems this year. A trade union official and Labour’s ward organiser for that campaign, Tony has represented the ward before, when he was involved in a regeneration of the Hexham Road estate.
Reading Labour Party Secretary Duncan Bruce is Labour’s candidate in Thames, where he also stood last year. Duncan is a free-lance film editor who was trained in Reading.
Taxi driver Haji Banares is Labour’s candidate again in Tilehurst, which he also contested two years ago.