03 MAY 2018

Engaging in local politics

Kent Messenger Column - 03-05-18

Today (Thursday 3rd May) is local government polling day. It's the day you get to choose who you want to run your local services and plan for the future of Maidstone and The Weald; Tackling litter and fly-tipping, improving local community services, investing in transport, improving our air quality and providing the new homes we need. They are just a few of the vital issues local councillors decide upon, but the turnout for local elections is often despairingly low.

A common reason I hear on the doorstep is 'my vote won't make a difference'; In recent years, however, both locally and around the world, we have seen unpredicted outcomes of various elections arising as a direct result of people casting their votes specifically to make that difference.

There are also those who stay away from the polling booths because they feel 'the parties and candidates are all the same', but the leaflets that have come through my door in the run up to this vote show a wide and varied choice for electors.

Voting is just one way to make change and once these elections are over there are other effective methods of influencing the people who affect our lives locally; methods that anyone can employ and which cost nothing except time and determination;

Lobbing your newly elected Councillors is one route – put your issue on the record by writing to them or having a meeting. Start a petition, involve the local media, make use of social media and use your elected representatives to generate support for a campaign.

Most Councillors I know in Maidstone and in Tunbridge Wells are local champions who focus their attentions on doing what's right for their neighbours and the local community. They want you to contact them, they want to help, and they need your vote in order to do so. I hope to see you at the polling station.

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