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 Thursday, May 5.
This year, at least one seat in all 18 of South Tyneside Council’s wards will be up for grabs, with two seats also being contested in the Harton area.
Each candidate has been given the opportunity to tell readers why they’re standing and why people should vote for them.
Here’s what candidates in the Bede ward have to say.
*Candidates are listed in the order they appeared on South Tyneside Council’s list of candidates at the close of nominations.*
John Michael Chilton (Green Party)
Born in the North East, I’ve been a resident of South Tyneside since 1996.
I have always worked in the IT sector and I am currently employed by Barbour in South Shields.
I’ve always had a strong interest in the environment and climate change and with more and more people across South Tyneside voting green than ever before, I believe that the Green Party can be a positive voice for you in the town hall.
We can win and I believe that we should be pushing hard for green jobs in South Tyneside whilst improving the environment for future generations.
Stephen Dean (Labour Party)
I’m proud to have been reselected as the Labour candidate for the Bede ward.
If I’m successful I will continue to be a local voice in the Bede ward and take up any Issues on behalf of my constituents.
I would continue making myself available in regular surgeries and also represent the needs of the good people of the Bede ward in the many committees I’m a member of and continue to make myself available by doing regular walkabouts and carry on listening to all the concerns and try my utmost to improve our local neighbourhood.
Bill Smith (Conservative Party candidate)
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I’m Bill Smith and I’m delighted to be standing as the Conservative Party candidate for Bede, 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.
Joanna Tuck (Independent)
The Bede ward is very close to my heart, standing as a candidate this year is a real honour.If elected on May 5 it will be a real privilege serving the ward residents to the best of my ability.In recent years I have successfully managed a local community centre and secured considerable funding to create what is now a real community asset.Voluntary community work is a passion that I hope I can develop as a councillor for the Bede ward.I feel strongly that political parties don’t truly represent the community the way they should.Being an independent councillor would allow me to be a true voice of the ward rather than a political puppet to a political party.We need more independent representatives across South Tyneside to break the longstanding Labour dominance which has proved detrimental to our borough.