Councillor Phil Shields column: I only answer to the voters

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I have thought long and hard over the last three-and-a-half years since I was first elected as a councillor, about standing for Mayor.

I realised very quickly that I am not a political animal and having seen politics at work in Mansfield, I quickly realised that politics has no place in local government.

What does matter is putting the district of Mansfield first.

That will be my primary concern if I am fortunate enough to get elected as the district’s next Mayor.

I realise by standing on my own I am the complete underdog as I do not have the party machine behind me who will spend whatever it takes to get elected.

This is what I hope will appeal to the people who either don’t vote or who are fed up of politics and want an alternative.

I am my own person who does not have to answer to a political party.

The only people I have to answer to are the electorate.

I will not have a manifesto or make pledges about what I will do if elected as this is something politicians do and I certainly do not think of myself as a politician, I leave that to the MPs.

It is about working more closely with the community groups and the constituents of Mansfield.

It is about having monthly meet the Mayor meetings giving people the opportunity to ask whatever they want.

Whoever gets elected should commit to a minimum of 50 hours a week in order to do the position justice. It is a full time job and should be treated as such.

It is about encouraging and creating a place where people who want to get involved and have a say are given the opportunity to do so.

It is about having a vision for the district and understanding how to drive the district forward.

We should as a council be “bigging up” the district.

The person elected needs to LISTEN, LISTEN and LISTEN again to what people are saying but above all else put the district of Mansfield first.

Merry Christmas and a happy New Year to everyone.