Councillor elections for Federal Committees

The Liberal Democrats launched their internal elections last weekend. If you are a councillor then you will also get the chance to vote for Liberal Democrat Councillor representatives on those boards. Manifestos below are from Liberal Democrat Councillors who are standing. If you are a councillor and have any questions about the election (for instance if you haven’t been sent this ballot paper, please email elections@libdems.org.uk

Candidates for Federal Board

Councillor Anita Lower (Ordinary Member Ballot)

Councillor Chris White (Councillor Representative)

Anita Lower
I am writing to ask for your support when we vote for members of the Party’s Federal Board later on this week. I know there are bigger things happening in politics, but this internal election isn’t waiting.
Did you know there are up to 35 voting members of our Federal Board, but only one space reserved for elected Councillors. 
I’m not standing for that one reserved place. I’m standing in the ordinary members ballot to get us an additional councillor on the Federal Board to give us the strong voice we need. 
Local campaigners like you and I delivered a terrific boost to the Party when those amazing local election results happened in May. We now need to make sure our voice is heard loud and clear at the centre. 
Please give me your first preference when the email comes out later this week. We need to make sure local government has the strong representation we need.
Councillor Anita Lower
Leader, Newcastle-upon-Tyne Liberal Democrats 

  • Newcastle city councillor for 25 years
  • Former Deputy Leader or the Council 
  • LGA Liberal Democrat Group Lead Member 

Vice-Chair ALDC, Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors

Chris White

Historically, the Federal Party has had a single goal: winning Westminster seats. Electing councillors and MEPs was seen as ancillary – a means to an end rather than a good in its own right.

Attitudes have in general improved but it requires eternal vigilance to make sure that things do not slip – that councillors are valued in their own right, that Liberal Democrat achievements in local government are recognised (including the sheer size of the budgets we control or influence), that mayors and council leaders are seen as important as MPs.

It is vital, therefore, that the local government family speaks within the party as a unified voice. As such, I combine membership of the ALDC Management Committee and the Executive of the Liberal Democrat Group on the Local Government Association, reporting back to both organisations after each Federal Board meeting and seeking their views on agendas.

The particular role of the Federal Board is in relation to party strategy and campaigning: I am and always have been a campaigner, and was the local agent in the 2016 referendum (St Albans voted 63% Remain) and campaign manager in the 2017 General Election (where St Albans uniquely saw the Liberal Democrats overtake Labour to rise from third to second place).

Importantly, my experience is not limited to one authority: I have been a county councillor for 26 years, and so see the whole range of local government services, and I have worked with and advised Liberal Democrat groups around the country.

I have also been active nationally at the LGA on the Culture, Tourism and Sport Board, and for the past few years have been the Liberal Democrat representative on the work the LGA does with its member authorities and the government on Brexit.

Please allow me to continue working for you.

Candidates for Federal Policy Committee

Councillor Susan Juned

Councillor Andy Konieczko

Councillor Peter Thornton

Susan Juned

Susan Juned: BSc, MSc, PhD Biological Sciences

Liberal Democrat History:

I was a Stratford on Avon District Councillor from 1991 – 2014 and served as the Leader of the Council for three years. Whilst Leader I set up Local Agenda 21 to support sustainable development.

I was recently re-elected to the Council in 2018 and am the Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group as well as the main opposition Leader. We recently moved a Climate Emergency Motion and I chair the group responsible for delivery.

I was a County Councillor for 12 years until a work promotion and have been a parliamentary candidate.

FPC experience:

As a member of the FPC, I have been a regular attendee, worked hard on many policy working groups, and contributed a chapter on resource efficiency policy to the Liberal Democrats Green Book.

My wider career:

After a start as a research scientist, studying crop plants and the impact of changing climates, my career has covered resource management, renewable energy and the dissemination of research for university sustainable development projects.

I was the local government liaison for a national Government project that worked with business to encourage resource management and zero waste and ran a centre to help local government manage commercial waste for small businesses.

I founded an energy efficiency charity twenty years ago and remain a trustee. I am also a Director of the largest charitable community energy company in the country producing 15 MW of energy from solar panels.

My reasons for wanting to remain on the FPC:

On the FPC my strengths lie with both my local government experience and my experience of what works for councillors; but also my wider experience working for businesses and universities.

Now is a crucial time for the Liberal Democrats and a time for wise counsel.

Andy Konieczko

I’m Andy Konieczko and I’m keen to serve our party as the Councillor rep on the FPC.

I’m a Borough Councillor in Basingstoke. Our Councils are Conservative controlled, and our residents are suffering from service cuts. Some Conservative Councillors recognise the damage this austerity is causing but explain it away as a necessary consequence of a reduction in Central Government funding. When I ask why they don’t lobby their Whitehall colleagues for more money, I’m met with shrugged shoulders: there’s no easy way to make them listen.

Thankfully, that’s not how we do things. And that’s why I believe the FPC needs active and engaged Councillors, ensuring that the views on the doorsteps are reflected in our policies.

I’ve thrown myself into supporting the party as best I can – becoming a Councillor in a safe Labour seat, coordinating GE campaigns, serving as vice-chair of my local party, and shaping national policy on a working group. I bring:

• A track record of successful campaigning as a Councillor – inheriting a distant third place and transforming it into a triple digit majority;
• A combination of high profile national political policy making – including playing an active role in the recent Fairer Share for All working group – and senior corporate decision making;
• Liberal, creative and pragmatic thinking – through a strong desire to help everyone fulfil their potential allied to a background in finance, economics and business, as well as volunteering.

I joined the Lib Dems because I wanted to help bridge the gap between politics and the people – something that’s now more important than ever. With your support, I hope to use my experience and energy to help us to make a difference: for the benefit of our party and the people with whom we need to reconnect.

Andy

Cllr.andy.konieczko@basingstoke.gov.uk 

Peter Thornton

“You’re all the same! Why should I vote for you lot?”

I was door knocking last week and this was the reaction.

We Politicians aren’t held in high esteem at the moment, are we?

Brexit has left it’s mark on us all and everyone wants to move on to other things (and yes, I do know that Brexit will be around for a lot longer yet…..)

Our problem as Liberal Democrats is that our current success is due to our position on Brexit and we aren’t currently known for much else in National politics.

Post Brexit: What do we stand for?

Where are our clear and distinctive National policies on?

·         Housing

·         The Economy

·         Town Centres

·         Transport

·         Buses

·         Rural issues

·         The Environment

·         Climate Change

·         Recycling

·         Taxation

We are good at producing pages of policy but how much of it is capable of being expressed in simple voter friendly form?

All too often it is of more interest to our conference goers and earnest discussion groups than the real voters out there.

As Councillors we are experts at putting together local policies which work. We discuss them in our Council groups, then

sell them on the doorstep. If they don’t land well, we soon know about it……….

That’s how we win Council seats and that’s why we win and control Councils!

But when we come to a General Election we somehow seem to lose this touch and have to

watch as the other parties dominate the policy discussions.

It’s time for this to change! That’s why we need a strong voice on the Federal Policy Committee. I’d like to be YOUR voice.

I know how elections are won (and lost) and if elected I will bring a clear working  Councillors voice to this committee.

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