Meet the candidates standing in the double election for the Monkton ward on May 6
With council elections just around the corner, we’re shining the spotlight on South Tyneside’s candidates in the run-up to polling day on May 6.
Each one has been given the opportunity to tell readers why they’re running for a seat on the borough council and why people should vote for them.
Due to an extra vacancy this year, two councillors will be elected in the Monkton ward.
Here’s what candidates have to say.
Rhiannon Curtis (Green Party)
A vote for the Greens is a vote for a fresh approach and a new voice on the council, one that is willing to stand up for you and our community.
For too long, poor decisions by the Labour council have negatively affected us; we are changing this, ensuring that your voices are heard.
More people voted Green in 2019 than ever before and since then, more and more people say they will vote Green on May 6.
I would be a positive voice for you in the town hall. Vote for something different. Something better. Vote Green.
Peter Hamilton (Independent)
I’ve lived in the Monkton ward for most of my life so know the area very well.
I spent 28 years working for South Tyneside Council. Much of that time as the senior steward representing members on a daily basis.
I’ve been involved in politics for almost 40 years but became disillusioned at the way local politics was evolving so decided the only way to change this was to stand for election myself.
I hold no allegiance to any other political party but would work in a professional manner with all other political parties for the benefit of the Monkton ward residents.
I served as a sitting magistrate for 15 years on the adult and youth benches.
The training surrounding this gave me a greater level of empathy, knowledge and understanding on solving problems that occur in situations that are sometimes out of our control.
Joan Keegan (Labour Party)
My name is Joan Keegan and for the past five years I have had the privilege to represent the Monkton ward as a Labour councillor, a ward I have lived in all my life.
I am extremely committed to our local community and will work tirelessly to ensure local people’s concerns are heard.
I will continue following the Monkton ward green agenda.
In spite of severe government cuts to public services, we have secured a brighter future for the Monkton ward.
Margaret Meling (Labour Party)
I believe in opportunities for all. Some do well, others need a hand up or to be helped out of a difficult situation or ill health.
I joined the Labour Party because those are its principles.
South Tyneside Council has maintained its commitment to the most vulnerable, it is rebuilding and caring for our environment to create a pleasant, healthy and safe place to live.
We must now turn to our economy, training our youngsters, upskilling those in work and creating jobs for the unemployed.
I hope you share my vision and will vote for me at the local elections.
Graeme Slator (Independent)
My name is Graeme Slator and I consider it a privilege to stand as your independent candidate for the Monkton ward. A ward I have lived in for the best part of my life.
In my employment I look after young and vulnerable adults in my role as a construction lecturer and nominated safeguarding officer.
During my employment at Via Systems I was an active trade unionist and was instrumental with other colleagues in getting union recognition in a non union environment.
My trade union background has given me a greater understanding of day to day problems and how they can be overcome and managed.
I hold no allegiance to any other political party but would work with all parties to ensure that the Monkton ward residents would be well represented within the local authority.
Chris Smith (Conservative Party)
My name is Chris Smith and I’m delighted to be standing as the Conservative Party candidate for Monkton.
South Tyneside Council needs a strong and effective opposition that can provide scrutiny to Labour’s monopoly on our council.
My priority will be ensuring our town centre is more business friendly.
I would start by working hard to ensure that we get our fair share of government grants which are there to help us level up.
If elected, I would be a strong voice for the ward and work hard for residents.
In opposition, I will ensure you get value for money for your council tax, something I don’t believe we’re seeing under this Labour council.
Margaret Snowling (Conservative Party)
I’m Margaret Snowling and I’m delighted to be standing as the Conservative Party candidate for Monkton, the ward in which I live.
South Tyneside Council needs a strong and effective opposition that can provide scrutiny to Labour’s grip of our council.
My priority will be ensuring our town centre is more business friendly and an attractive place to visit.
I would start by working hard to increase the amount of free parking in our town centre as well as better public transport links.
If elected, I would be a strong voice for the ward and work hard for the residents.
As an opposition councillor, I would also work hard to make sure council services are efficiently provided, giving you value for money.
Marian Stead (Reform UK)
My name is Marian Stead, I’m from a working class family and one of eight children.
Formerly a Labour voter, like the rest of the family, I now want to see changes in the political system.
Fed up of being dominated by the two main political parties and longing for a common sense party I decided that Reform UK was for me.
I’m a candidate in the Monkton ward of Jarrow against more candidates than is usual because there are two positions as councillors up for grabs.
I’m campaigning for abolishing the House of Lords, reform of the political system and updating weak building regulations (in light of the Grenfell disaster).
The latter is a matter that affects so many people’s safety and is so costly for individuals caught up in the mess, that I’m astonished changes needed are not an urgent priority for Government and South Tyneside.