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 Shiney Row 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*
Michael Kennedy (Freedom Alliance)
Michael Kennedy was born in Shiney Row and lived all his life in the area.
Michael is standing with Freedom Alliance because the legacy parties have let us down and it’s time for change.
Michael promises to ask local people what they want and campaign hard to get Shiney Row the investment it deserves. He wants to bring local people together to improve community facilities and resolve problems on the estates.
Decisions about Shiney Row should be informed by the people living and working there.
Michael has a proven track record of speaking up for local people and challenging injustice – he fought for this community on the picket lines and as a union rep during the miners strike.
Michael has the courage to speak up for constituents and would be very proud to serve local residents.
Thomas Mower (Green Party)
As a Green Party candidate, I stand for tackling poverty, social and health inequalities and the climate and ecological crises.
I believe everyone has a right to secure, well-paid employment, free healthcare delivered quickly, a quality education, and access to nature.
Working for a local environmental and community charity, I see how quality time outdoors can support people’s health and wellbeing.
If elected, I would do everything possible to protect our local green spaces from development, and ensure they are managed for public good – giving people access to nature, reducing climate risks, and providing space for nature to thrive.
I would do this by pushing for our council to declare an ecological emergency, and to implement plans which thoroughly respond to the climate and nature crises we are facing – creating a safe and sustainable future for us all.
Mel Speding (Labour Party)
Having lived and worked the vast majority of my life in the Shiney Row ward, I am seeking re-election mindful of a very strange last 2 years.
Our communities are facing unprecedented public health and economic challenges from the effects of both Covid 19 and the rising costs of everyday living.
The impacts from these issues are becoming more and more evident as Covid variants continue to affect our daily routines.
Heating bills, fuel prices and the cost of putting food on the table increases week on week as inflation bites.
For my part I will strive to ensure that Shiney Row Ward gets an equitable share of the ever-reducing council budget and that the council tax charge for this ward remains the lowest in the North East.
Richard Vardy (Conservative Party candidate)
Although representing the ward where you were born and grew up in is an undoubted privilege, it is what you wish to do that matters.
It goes without saying the basics are representing interests of Shiney Row ward on the council and ensuring the area gets good services are delivered.
Herrington, Penshaw and Shiney Row have so much more potential to be better places to live and work.
Vote Conservative to give the Shiney Row Ward a strong, local Conservative voice on a No Overall Control Council.