Our election candidates

We're delighted to be standing a full slate of candidates for May’s Kent County Council elections.

We are also standing two candidates for by-elections for Thanet District Council (Ramsgate Central Harbour and Newington) and one for Ramsgate Town Council

Here are their candidate statements.

Meet our candidates

Cllr Becky Wing, Ramsgate

KCC candidate

I’ve been privileged to serve as Green Councillor for Central Harbour ward on TDC and RTC for two years. I’ve always been active in the community: I chair Addington Street Community Group which runs the popular Revival Fair, and most weeks you’ll see me out gardening or litter-picking in my ward. I’m a former teacher and now work with vulnerable young people through Charlton Athletic Community Trust.

I’m standing for KCC because I firmly believe better TDC/KCC co-ordination would improve residents’ lives, enhance services and save money, and as an existing TDC Councillor I could help achieve that. Little things matter – drains, potholes, road verges and recycling facilities, for example, could all be dealt with better if Councils linked effectively! But I’d work on the big things too: I’m particularly concerned to improve our schools, reinstate youth services and ensure inward investment to create new job opportunities for young people.

Becky Wing

Becky Wing

Katie Gerrard

Katie Gerrard

Katie Gerrard, Ramsgate

KCC candidate and candidate for Newington in TDC by-election

I live in Newington and have worked in charities and education as well as the private sector. My daughter’s at Royal Harbour and my son’s at primary school. I believe Councils must act to improve residents’ lives now, because the pandemic has put so much extra pressure on families. I’m especially concerned about how lengthy school closures have affected families – the impact on young people’s physical and mental health, and the effects on parents, particularly mothers who often carry most responsibility for home schooling.

As a Newington resident, I know only too well that some areas feel neglected by their local Councils. I believe Newington needs more attention from TDC, and in the same way, Ramsgate and East Kent deserve a lot better from KCC. So I’m standing for election both for Newington for TDC and for Ramsgate for KCC to try to make a difference for overlooked communities.

Tricia Austin, Ramsgate

Ramsgate Town Council candidate and candidate for Central Harbour in TDC by-election

Since moving to my husband’s hometown of Ramsgate nine years ago, I’ve been active in the life of the community.  I’m Town Team Secretary and chair the Litter Forum (so I’m ‘The Rubbish Lady’!) I’m on the Coastal Community and Neighbourhood Plan groups, I’m a school Governor and have been a Ramsgate Town Councillor. I started Thanet Funding Forum three years ago to help voluntary groups access funding information - increasingly important as Council budgets shrink.

I’ve worked in Councils, so I know how they should operate, and I don’t believe TDC functions effectively. I will push TDC to be properly led by the Councillors we elect, to be honest and transparent and to build constructive, equal relationships with residents.

Central Harbour has its challenges – but its residents have fantastic skills, enthusiasm and ideas. I will help TDC and RTC harness these, to help us all have a bright future.

Tricia Austin

Tricia Austin

Mike Garner

Mike Garner

Cllr Mike Garner, Broadstairs

KCC candidate

I’m Leader of the Green Group on Thanet District Council, and represent St Peters on TDC and Broadstairs Town Council. Both TDC and KCC have declared Climate Emergencies, but unless they show determined practical action to deliver on their declarations, these are just words.

I believe I would bring useful skills and knowledge to KCC, as well as improving links with TDC. Since my election in 2019, I’ve worked with residents’ groups to create new play areas and protect green spaces, and with the Tree Warden to encourage new planting and build biodiversity across the Isle. If I’m elected I will push for KCC to take simple, effective measures to improve biodiversity and tree cover in Thanet, to adopt transport policies that prioritise pedestrians and cyclists, creating safer and more welcoming neighbourhoods, to improve local co-ordination of health & social care services and to bring high-quality green jobs into Thanet.

Michelle Thomas, Cliftonville

KCC candidate

I’m a communications specialist working mainly in the entertainment industry, so I’ve witnessed Covid’s devastating economic effects.

Cliftonville West needs intensive support, which KCC should be leveraging by working with other agencies. By prioritising areas like Cliftonville, KCC could dramatically improve our economy and job prospects.

Cliftonville West’s waste management situation is totally unacceptable: if elected, I’ll push TDC and KCC to get this sorted.

KCC must rebuild around people, not cars, to improve our quality of life and help address climate change - and deliver on its climate emergency declaration, or Cliftonville will be under water soon!

As a single parent of a high-needs child, I’m particularly concerned to ensure KCC’s spending on education and support services is well-targeted and does what it’s supposed to.

I’m an active campaigner – with XR, on Black Lives Matter and on social and environmental issues. If I’m elected, I will stand up for Cliftonville!

Michelle Thomas

Michelle Thomas

Sue-Rees-circ

Sue Rees

Sue Rees, Margate

KCC candidate

I grew up in the Medway towns but have known Thanet well since my parents moved to Westgate in the 1970s. I’m retired and volunteer at the Pilgrims Hospice bookshop in Margate, which I love.

I’m standing as a candidate because I believe TDC and KCC need to co-ordinate services better, particularly on waste and recycling. As a seaside resort in a fishing area, Margate must act on the rubbish piling up in streets and on beaches, and the plastic and other waste going into our oceans, which adversely affects tourism and jobs as well as the quality of all our lives. My block of flats and many others like it have no recycling facilities – a crazy situation in a climate emergency!

Litterpicking volunteers work wonders, but they cannot and should not be a substitute for properly co-ordinated services from TDC and KCC. The whole system needs a complete overhaul.

Abi Smith, Birchington & Rural

KCC candidate

I love living in Westgate and am actively involved in the community. I’ve worked in Thanet Libraries and Kent Community Health, and as a volunteer for several years with Thanet Citizens’ Advice, which gave me an insight into the people’s resilience in this area and the daily challenges they face.

I believe vested interests, including developers who would turn our beloved farmland into housing, threaten our coastal community. We should not let their plans dictate our lives uncontested.

I know how services like libraries fulfil many functions: educating and informing people, bringing them together, providing a focus for local activities and safe place for parents to take children, and giving people online access. If KCC cuts services like this to save a little money, the damage will be considerable.

I also believe KCC must work with bus companies so rural residents can travel safely, comfortably and affordably for work and leisure.

Abi Smith

Abi Smith

Rob-Edwards-circ

Rob Edwards

Rob Edwards, Birchington & Rural

KCC candidate

I’m 28 and have lived in Westgate for most of my life, working at the Carlton Cinema, delivering papers, planting trees and helping with community campaigns.
To represent their communities most effectively, I believe Councils need a range of ages amongst their elected members, which is certainly not the case with KCC at present! As well as representing the residents of my Division, as a younger Councillor I would also strive to present the viewpoint of under-30s, who have suffered particularly harshly during the pandemic.

I’m regional manager for a gym chain and if elected would work to ensure that KCC takes a much more proactive approach to public health in future. Better-managed open spaces, outdoor gyms, much improved cycling & walking facilities and an emphasis on family-friendly activities are affordable and would pay dividends. Ramsgate Town Council’s Active Ramsgate initiative provides a local model that could be followed elsewhere.