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 Millfield 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*
Gwennyth Gibson (Conservative Party candidate)
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I have lived in Millfield for most of my life.
It only takes a brief walk around the Millfield Ward to find dirty streets, fly-tipped back lanes and roads with major potholes in them.
This is not good enough – and we should demand better from Sunderland City Council.
This year, by ending Labour’s control of the council, residents of the city can embrace change and do politics different.
That would be to the benefit of all Millfield residents.
Gary Ogle (Green Party)
As a resident of Millfield I would work to improve our environment. Fly-tipping is still an issue and so is dog mess.
We need pride in our surroundings so I would seek funding and support to turn our back lanes into ‘garden lanes’ with plants and shrubs.
In areas of Newcastle, this has reduced fly-tipping, fostered a sense of community and improved biodiversity.
Though there has been an effort to repair potholes, the material used to patch them is not good quality and the repairs don’t last.
I would urge the council to invest in better quality materials, saving money in the long-term.
Speeding cars are an issue in many parts of the ward making it difficult for children to play safely. I would support a 20mph speed limit in all residential areas.
A vote for me is a vote for a cleaner, safer Millfield. Vote Green!
Kingsley Okojie (Labour Party)
It is an honour to be the Labour Party candidate for the community that I admire and cherish.
The pandemic showed us that a lot still needs to be done to care for people in our society and my job working in the NHS gives me first-hand experience supporting people.
It has been fantastic meeting the brilliant people of the Millfield ward over the last couple of months.
If elected I will be proud to be their voice on the city council. I have never been more hopeful about the future of our city.
Millfield is home to many of the ongoing city centre regeneration projects from the new Culture House, proposed new eye infirmary, the Beam and the Riverside Sunderland projects – Millfield Ward like Sunderland is changing for the better.
If elected, I will work to ensure that this positive change continues to the benefit of all.
Julio Romero Johnson (Communist Party of Britain)
Our class, the working class, is being hit by another crisis while big business owners are raking in massive profits.
Wages and benefits are falling behind prices, and many people are having to choose between heating and eating. Some even risk losing their homes because they can’t pay the rent or mortgage.
Capitalism, the society under which we live, can’t provide a long-term solution to many of the problems we are facing today, either political, economic or environmental, but the government can be forced to make concessions if there is mass pressure.
Communists campaign for fighting back now, but argue that ultimately we need socialism – a society which recognises the true value of all workers, based on public ownership of the economy, and providing essential services for everyone with a decent income in retirement.
Voting to elect a Communist councillor is part of the process of building that alternative.
Andrew Wood (Liberal Democrat)
It’s been awesome to serve the community in Millfield, Pallion, Thornhill and the city centre as your local councillor over the past four years.
You rightly expect your councillor to work hard for your area. I hope that I’ve proved, through my work and campaigns, I’ve done that.
Working with Julia Potts and Niall Hodson, we’ve reduced councillor allowances and stopped free meals and perks.
We helped get roads and footpaths across our area repaired, reversed cuts to street cleaning and fly-tipping enforcement and joined you in tidying the area.
However, keeping the city clean needs more work. Basic cleansing and refuse services aren’t working for residents.
It’s my priority to take the council to task to fix these issues. If I’m re-elected as your local councillor, I will keep on listening to residents, standing up for your concerns, and keeping in touch all year round with my FOCUS newsletters.