Following the immensely sad news of Nick Bowler’s death a month ago, a by-election has been called to find a new Councillor for the Rochester East ward.
After a very competitive selection process with a range of talented candidates, Lauren Edwards has been selected to represent the Medway Labour and Co-operative Group in this election. We sat down with her and asked her a few questions about her motivations for standing as a candidate.
Why do you want to be a Councillor?
I’ve reached the age where I feel I have accumulated the right skills and experience to enable me to represent my area effectively. I enjoy advocating on behalf of others and have got great results in the past for colleagues as an active trade unionist.
I want to similarly deliver for the people of Rochester East. I also want to hold the Tories to account for their lack of aspiration for Medway and offer a more positive alternative based on Labour values of collaboration and commitment to well-run public services.
What is your connection to the area?
I moved into Rochester East in 2016 with my partner because I loved the local area and wanted to make it my home.
Over time I have become embedded in the local community through my volunteering and getting involved in local groups. Throughout the pandemic I volunteered at NHS vaccination centres across Medway and got involved in local litter-picks to make the streets cleaner. I’ve also supported local businesses through my involvement with the Rochester Food Awards 2021.
I’m standing for council in my own ward because I understand local issues and want to help make it an even better place to live.
What is your background?
I work as a financial regulator at the Bank of England. I wanted to help prevent another financial crisis, having seen the devastating impact of the last one when I worked for Labour MPs.
Trade union values are important to me and I have been an elected workplace representative for the last thirteen years, helping colleagues with their problems and securing improvements to pay and workplace conditions. I also worked for the CWU for a number of years, primarily supporting postal workers.
What political issues do you care about most?
I believe in well-run and properly funded public services and have campaigned in the past to save Sure Start centres and local libraries. Extreme cuts to public services, like we’ve seen from the Conservatives both nationally and locally, are not prudent. They make our communities less pleasant to live in; and often fixing the problems caused by sustained underinvestment ends up costing more in the long-run.
Anti-social behaviour is an obvious example. If you cut youth clubs and services you increase the chance that young people will engage in anti-social behaviour and crime because they have nothing to do and are not encouraged to think positively about their future.
Campaigning for the Rochester East by-election has already begun, and if you feel you’d like to help Lauren’s campaign, please email email@example.com and we’ll give you all the information you need to get involved and make a difference.
Promoted by Tristan Osborne on behalf of Lauren Edwards. All at 73 Maidstone road, Rochester, Kent, ME1 1RL