With council elections just around the corner, we’re shining the spotlight on Sunderland’s candidates in the run-up to polling day.
Voters are due to head to polling stations on Thursday, May 5, to either re-elect or replace holders of around a third of seats on Sunderland City Council.
All candidates have been given the opportunity to tell readers why they’re standing and why you should vote for them.
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Here’s what candidates in the Houghton ward have to say.
*Candidates are listed in the order they appeared on Sunderland City Council’s list of candidates at the close of nominations*
Mark Burrell (Labour Party)
I am honoured to be selected as the Labour Party candidate for Houghton. It would be a privilege to represent our community and work with my Labour ward colleagues to ensure Houghton prospers.
My Labour values stem from my upbringing on a council estate during the Thatcher years. I remember how our communities were left behind, crime was high and public services were underfunded. Trying to prevent further decline was why I joined the Labour party.
A Labour council will try to mitigate the damage of a Tory government. By continuing to invest in our community and local groups we will ensure no one is left behind.
Our manifesto has many good practical policies developed with residents and includes free bulky collections to tackle fly-tipping.
It also commits to further investment for additional policing, CCTV and improving facilities such as Houghton library and our green spaces and parks.
Craig Morrison (Conservative Party candidate)
Over the last four years, our Council Tax has gone up.
We have not seen better local services for this money. Instead, streets are dirty, roads and broken and there is very little enforcement action on things like fly-tipping and dog fouling.
If we end Labour’s control of Sunderland this year, we can make a real difference in our city and do politics differently.
Give change a chance and vote Conservative.
Emma Robson (Green Party)
Green councillors make change happen. We have a lot to prove and so we work hard, listen to residents and do our best to solve your problems.
This is why we are being elected in increasing numbers across the country, including the North East.
If I am elected, I will make it a priority to reduce energy bills. Firstly, by introducing a thorough programme of home insulation and retro-fitting.
Other councils have found that this not only cuts bills, it also creates jobs and cuts carbon emissions.
I will also urge the council to invest in community-owned renewable energy sources so residents and local businesses have access to cheaper energy. This will help with the cost-of-living crisis as well as attracting employers to the area.
I am ambitious for our city, I believe that together we can build a more prosperous and sustainable Houghton. Vote Green on May 5.
Donna Thomas (Independent)
As a director of Houghton-le-Spring Residents Community Interest Company my interests lie solely in the local community in which I have lived and worked my whole life.
My passion is the people of Houghton. By working together with the residents, I will strive to make Houghton a better/safer place to live, work and raise our families.
Local politics should be about local issues. I feel Houghton needs to be represented by people who put Houghton first, rather than any party they are affiliated to.
My political ethos is transparency, informing and involving the public, something I feel is sadly lacking.
If elected I promise to continue to work for and support Houghton’s residents, traders, and community services.
The only voice YOU have in local politics is YOUR precious vote. Please use it to shout up for Houghton. VOTE INDEPENDENT and let’s put people before party.