Mansfield's Labour party leader has said she will 'fight for the area' as she bids to become Mansfield's next MP.
Councillor Sonya Ward, who represents Bull Farm and Pleasley Hill at Mansfield District Council has announced that she will be in the running to be Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Mansfield in the next election.
Taking on current Conservative MP, Ben Bradley, who snatched the parliamentary seat from Sir Alan Meale in June last year.
We asked Coun Ward a few questions about her and the campaign.
Why would you like to be Mansfield's MP?
"I believe Mansfield voters deserve a Labour candidate who knows, understand, and cares about the district, someone who has a track record of supporting people here and who they know will continue to do so. I’m not someone who is looking for a seat to fulfil my own ambitions, my motivation is to represent and serve my community of Mansfield, and to fight to improve the lives and prospects of all of us in the district."
What could you bring to the role that is unique?
"I’ve lived in Mansfield for over three decades and I have worked in every part of the district - in Mansfield, Mansfield Woodhouse and Warsop. I have worked as a youth worker, in schools, in adult education and for the NHS. I know how hard it is for young people to find jobs and a place to live. I’ve experienced the damage done to our community by the closure of the collieries, factories and other workplaces, and I’m frustrated that we’ve not had the same opportunities for regeneration as cities such as Sheffield and Manchester.
"I have served as an elected representative in Mansfield for almost seven years and I’ve been leader of the labour group since 2015. We have a lot of potential in the district and we need to ensure that potential is nurtured and supported."
What would you like to see changed in Mansfield and why?
"Mansfield is one of the lowest paid districts in the county and we need to turn that around, with a robust industrial strategy. I am determined to fight for the area to be at the top of the governments priority list and will lobby for real investment in Mansfield and District."
What experience do you have to prepare you for the role?
"I have worked with people in Mansfield and Nottinghamshire for most of my career, and I am very proud to have served our community both as a district Councillor for almost seven years now, and as Leader of the Labour group since 2015. I have campaigned on local issues alongside residents, and supported local community groups, charities and enterprises, I have also supported many Mansfield residents and families who are dealing with difficulties. "
What do you think the benefits are in having a local MP rather than one who has been brought in for the job?
"I want to change Mansfield for the better, it’s my home town and it’s where my friends, families and neighbours live. Mansfield people undoubtedly want the best person for the job, and from talking to people in all areas of the district, the message that comes across loud and strong is that they want to be represented by someone with real passion for the area, who lives here, and who will always put the people of Mansfield, Woodhouse and Warsop first."
Finally, how successful do you believe your campaign will be.
"Since I launched my campaign on Wednesday (January 3) the support from local party members and residents has been overwhelming. Ultimately Mansfield Labour Party members will make the decision on who they feel is the best person to be the candidate and to win the seat back for Mansfield, and I have no doubt they will make a good decision."