Residents go to the polls on Thursday, May 3, to vote in the Sunderland City Council elections.
Here's what candidates in the Houghton ward have to say about why you should vote for them.
NEIL MACKNIGHT (Labour)
My name is Neil Macknight. I’m married with three grown-up sons, and live in Houghton.
My entire career has been spent working with the NHS.
I coach young players at Houghton Rugby Club and I am a committee member of a local sports charity.
I have recently been heavily involved in the successful fight to save the Field of Dreams from development.
If elected, I will ensure that Houghton has a strong voice on the city council.
I will develop the localism agenda, to encourage local services to buy from local businesses to generate investment and employment in our community.
GRAHAM MARTIN (Green)
I have, previously, lived and worked in Houghton for a number of years, working initially in the council offices in the Broadway and later as a lifeguard at Hetton Baths.
I have also been involved in local activism, campaigning successfully against the demolition of Garden Street in Newbottle by the Council and for a village plan there.
I am a Green socialist and while I would cooperate with the Labour Party nationally, at a local level it needs progressive political challenge.
CRAIG MORRISON (Conservative)
I’m Craig and I’m your Conservative candidate for Houghton in the local elections.
Labour expects to be elected time and again irrespective of their record and they need to be challenged by a real opposition to improve our city.
One of my concerns at the moment is the lack of infrastructure to support all the extra houses being built in the area.
No extra capacity on the roads, no extra school places or at GPs making life more difficult for local residents with little consideration from this Labour council.
Vote for change and send a message.
SUSAN STERLING (Liberal Democrats)
I live locally in Houghton.
It’s vital that our area has opposition voices that will oppose bad decisions and hold the Labour-run Council to account for the way they spend our money.
Labour councillors are complacent and invisible and always prioritise Sunderland over Houghton.
It’s vital that our area has opposition voices that are able and willing to oppose bad decisions and hold the council to account for the way they spend our money.
Only Wearside Liberal Democrats have voted to cut councillor allowances and expenses and to get a fair deal for residents in our area.
LINDA MARY WOOD (Independent)
I am standing as an Independent candidate for the Houghton Ward because I feel that this town is not properly represented by Labour.
Independent voices are needed to ensure Houghton is treated fairly by Sunderland City Council.
If you are a member of any political party, you vote as the party wishes you to vote, even if it is not in the best interests of the people who elected you.
If elected I will do my best to ensure I am available to the public to raise issues and concerns on a regular basis and I will do my utmost to represent Houghton well.
James Harrison , Local Democracy Reporting Service