Published: June 20, 2012
Liberal Democrats announce county council candidate for Highbridge

Highbridge and Burnham South Liberal Democrats have this week selected district councillor Joe Leach as their candidate for next year's County Council elections.

Joe, 25, has lived and worked in the town all his life, and has been a district councillor for Highbridge for over five years, as well as a town councillor from 2007-2011.

In next May's election he will fight the seat against incumbent Conservative county councillor John Woodman, who is standing for a second term.

Joe, pictured, told Burnham-On-Sea.com: "I am delighted to have been selected as I am passionate about our area. I love knocking on doors and meeting my neighbours to discuss important issues so I can effectively represent them at council, and I pledge to continue this should I be elected to the County Council."

He hit out at what he claims is a "reckless use of taxpayers money" by the existing county council.

"I have already been campaigning vigorously against the Conservatives' plans to make cuts which have wound up costing the taxpayer through poor financial management and ill-judged ideological policies, such as closing libraries without proper consultation which cost £561,000 in U-turns and legal fees; £47,000 to other councils to cover the costs of fly-tipping as a result of their 'tip-tax' and shorter opening hours and, obscenely, over £800 a day on consultants doing the same jobs as the staff they just made take voluntary redundancy, costing millions in redundancy pay."

"This isn't prudent financial management, it's reckless use of taxpayers money based on dogma, which is affecting some of the most vulnerable people in Somerset, including many in my division, and it's got to stop. I believe the Liberal Democrats at county hall have presented viable alternatives which have been ignored purely on party political basis and not considered on merit, even though they have all been carefully scrutinised and costed."

Joe added: "Locally, Highbridge and Burnham South have not had a voice at County Hall, despite many of the cuts affecting our community. I would love the chance to be able to take the fight for our towns to Taunton, and ensure Highbridge and Burnham South gets the representation it deserves."

Burnham and Highbridge MP Tessa Munt congratulated Joe on his selection on Tuesday evening, saying: "Joe has all the enthusiasm, ideas and energy to make sure that the voices of those who live in Highbridge and Burnham-On-Sea will be heard in Taunton. I'm confident that he will work hard - as he always does - for our area. If you have any queries or would like help or advice, Joe and I are available twice a month for our joint surgeries in The Boathouse Cafe in Market Street, Highbridge and at Mr Beans in Burnham High Street."

At the last County Council election in 2009, which Burnham-On-Sea.com covered here, Liberal Democrat candidate Rosemary Parsons narrowly lost the Highbridge seat by 270 votes to John Woodman.

 


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