Emily Smith, Vale candidate on 7 May

Debby says: I was elected in 2011, as one member in a two member ward. Since then, it’s felt like I was the only one working on behalf of this community. The other councillor was a Tory and so pro-Doric that he accompanied them on their radio spots; he had to recuse himself from the planning committee decision for this bias. Awhile back, he moved to the safe Tory seat of Southmoor. I welcome Emily as a candidate who has a track record of working for this community, and she will be great as a colleague! I invited her to provide an introduction.

Emily says: Few people in our ward are unaware of Cllr Debby Hallett’s efforts to defeat Doric and hold the Conservative controlled Vale to account. Debby is pro-active, hardworking and cares deeply about our community. But Botley & Sunningwell is a two member ward, so on 7th May you get two votes in the District Council elections. I have decided to stand alongside Debby to help build on the work she has done so far and to help bring the Vale back into Liberal Democrat control.

A bit about me

EmilyI live in Botley with my husband and two young sons. I grew up in Sunningwell, where my parents still live, and went to school in Abingdon. After studying Sociology at University I worked at Oxfam then for a large project providing volunteer mentors to support vulnerable adults and young people. I am now employed by the County Council, coordinating activities to reduce youth unemployment across Oxfordshire.

I’ve volunteered for North Hinksey Youth Club, West Way Community Concern and I led the popular Campaign for Botley Skate Park. In 2013 I helped run a public meeting about how Neighbourhood Plans can benefit local communities and was elected to North Hinksey Parish Council in a by-election in 2014.

Why I am standing to be a District Councillor

Liberal Democrats have a reputation for making excellent local councillors and constituency MPs. I have been campaigning with fellow Lib Dems against inappropriate planning applications, to protect our Green Belt, and for better recreation facilities for our young people. As a District Councillor I would continue pushing for these things and any other community needs that arise, but I would have more power to make a difference.

I am particularly interested in improving consultation and communication with residents and ensuring the needs of vulnerable groups are considered in decision making. I would continue supporting communities to create Neighbourhood Plans, advocate for socially and environmentally sustainable development, and would explore new ways for the Vale to support youth services and recreation facilities.

And finally, why I support Parliamentary Candidate Layla Moran…

…because she supports our whole community. When Doric and the Tories at the Vale tried to impose the ridiculous West Way development on us, Layla was with us from the very start – going door to door in the pouring rain getting petition signatures 18 months before our Tory MP had said a word on the matter. Layla is a community campaigner and an excellent communicator. Her passion for education and commitment to policy based on scientific evidence, not populist whim, appeals to me as a parent, a public sector worker and a Liberal Democrat.

Team - Sunningwell Village Green (2) smaller

Layla Moran, Emily Smith, Debby Hallett

I have got to know Layla very well over the past two years and know she will be a fantastic MP who will work with District Councillors to push for the flooding defences, sustainable transport, quality apprenticeships and the planning reform that we need here in Botley and Sunningwell.

Please vote SMITH, HALLETT and MORAN on May 7th. You can contact me at emilysmithld@gmail.com or on twitter @emilysmithLD.