Liberal Democrat Jason Zadrozny has vowed to oust Gloria De Piero at the next General Election and leave a ‘lasting legacy’ for Ashfield.
Coun Zadrozny made the promise after being confirmed as the party’s chosen candidate to stand for the Ashfield seat during the election on 7th May 2015.
Mr Zadrozny narrowly missed out on winning the seat in 2010 after Ms De Piero polled just 192 more votes.
But Mr Zadrozny believes that record numbers of Liberal Democrat members across the constituency and local apathy towards Ms De Piero will help secure him the 0.01 per cent swing needed to secure the seat.
“Whether you like Gloria or not, you cannot think of anything, good or bad, that she has done for this area,” said Mr Zadrozny.
“Gloria has not left any legacy whatsoever. I am born in this area, I grew up in this area, I shop in this area, I talk to people, a lot of people, and I know what people want.
“The voters of this area want someone who will do something for this area, it is not about national issues and forming a Government, it is about someone who will do positive things for Ashfield.
“It is about improving the economy, it is about creating jobs and it is about getting the very best for Ashfield. I can do this better than anyone else.”
The battle to win power is likely to be bitterly-contested with the Labour party at national level highlighting Ashfield as one of the seats they are most in danger of losing.
As part of his campaign Coun Jadrozny, who led Ashfield District Council between 2007 and 2009, says he will step down as a district councillor at the next local elections to focus all his efforts on local issues during his first term as MP.
“Stepping down is a big deal for me. Ashfield District Council was my first love,” said Mr Zadrozny.“As a former leader, this has been a very hard decision to take and one that I did not take lightly.
“I have been voted in five times in an area where a Liberal Democrat should not be voted in if Labour are doing their job. People have put their faith in me and it is very hard to walk away from that.
“Ashfield deserves a full-time MP and If I am elected I will focus all my time on Ashfield and not national issues.
“I will not take on any shadow minister jobs or anything like that and will focus on Ashfield and working to improve things.
“I have served my apprenticeship as a district councillor and now want to become an MP.
“As a district councillor you learn you cannot solve all problems at that level, you progress to becoming a county councillor and then find the same thing.
“I want to become an MP so that I can solve problems and make Ashfield a better place, it is a natural progression for me.
“I would not be standing down if I thought I was not going to win.
“Back in 2005 we were told we could not win the seat, but we made giant strides in 2010 and, this time, people know we can win.
“People will be thinking about their vote much deeper for this election, the people that do not want Labour elected will vote for me.
“The voters know that their vote can make a real difference for their community.
“I believe that if we can effectively communicate our message and show people how hard the Liberal Democrats work, what I have achieved as a district councillor and the difference that we have made as a party, then we can have a very good chance of winning the seat.”
In 2005 the Liberal Democrats claimed 5,829 (13.9 per cent) votes and came third behind Labour Candidate Geoff Hoon, who polled 20,433 (48.6 per cent) votes.
Ms De Piero, who polled 16,239 votes (33.7 per cent) during the previous election, said: “Instead of getting involved in petty political point scoring I’m just going to concentrate on getting on with the job I was elected by the people of Ashfield to do.
“Although it might be worth reminding people once again that I’m the only MP for Ashfield in 25 years that has lived here.”