It may have been overshadowed by the calling of a General Election in June, but voters will go to the polls before that to elect local councillors.
All seats at Nottinghamshire County Council are up for election on Thursday, May 4.
The council is currently made of 67 councillors, across 54 divisions.
Although officially under No Overall Control, it is led by the Labour Party, who hold 32 seats, ahead of the Tories with 21. There are also five Liberal Democrat councillors, four Ashfield Independents and two Mansfield Independent Forum members and three Independents.
After the election, 66 councillors will represent 55 divisions.
Voters in West Mansfield will elect two councillors to represent them. We asked them all to submit some details about themselves in the run up to voters going to the polls.
Rebecca Buck (LD)
Rebecca grew up in Arnold and has lived in Nottinghamshire for her whole life, apart from a few years living in Slovenia. She is passionate about engaging people with history and culture and works in the heritage sector, at museums in Nottingham and Ilkeston. She is proud to be representing the Liberal Democrats in Mansfield.
Stephen Crosby (UKIP)
Stephen is the chairman of UKIP Mansfield and a regular contributor to the local newspaper discussing current affairs. He contested the Nottingham North election in 2015 and manages his own engineering business. His 40 years ‘voluntary community experience with both young people and senior citizens, and campaigning to save libraries and post offices prepares him to serve Mansfield. Stephen’s pledge to Mansfield West: prioritise small businesses to tender for Council services; Revitalise empty homes, protect parks and green spaces for our children, and prioritise social homes for local residents of Mansfield; Bring social care back in house, caring for the elderly, the weak and vulnerable, putting people before profit for privatised companies; and Repair neglected roads and review speed calming in Mansfield. Stephen believes UKIP offers Mansfield independent councillors with a national identity, putting your community first on Nottinghamshire County Council
Paul Henshaw (Lab)
Paul has lived in Mansfield all his life. Paul’s working career has been varied. For the last 20 years he has worked supporting people who have a learning disability. Because of family issues, Paul has always taken a keen interest in supporting the NHS. He has been chairman of a community Health Council, a patients’ forum and a member of a Citizens’ Reference Panel. Paul has experience in local government. He served as a district councillor for mroe than 20 years. During this time he was chairman of the council’s major scrutiny committee. He has also been a county councillor and a member of the fire authority. Paul pledges to protect adult social care, develop policies to protect the environment and to provide scrutiny for local health services. Paul received a long service award for his time as a school governor and has been a voluntary youth worker in the Boys’ Brigade for 40 years.
Fran Loi (UKIP)
Fran is the county chairman for UKIP Nottinghamshire and stood as UKIP’s police and crime commissioner candidate in 2016. Having led the UKIP campaign in the county to Leave the EU, he was incredibly proud Nottinghamshire produced a massive Leave vote, especially in Mansfield. Fran contested the division in 2013 and will be delighted to serve the area in 2017. Fran’s aims for Nottinghamshire County Council include: Repair our roads and invest heavily in our transport infrastructure; More apprenticeships that lead to guaranteed employment in council services; Support bus passes for pensioners with the support of local authorities; Reverse the councils privatisation of care to the elderly; and make cuts to excessive pay within the council, streamline procurement ready for Brexit and make the coucil work for the residents of Nottinghamshire, not the other way round.
Diana Meale (Lab)
Diana represents and lives in West Mansfield and is chairman of the council’s economic development committee. In that role she is a director of Futures, the company jointly owned by the City and County that offers careers advice and apprenticeship placements. She is proud that over the past four years, the Labour administration at County Hall has supported 150 apprenticeships at the council through Futures and created 320 jobs in the county’s innovation centres, as well as helped numerous companies to grow. She has worked in the fields of economic analysis and regeneration in a number of sectors including higher education, private consultancy and a national trade union. She was an executive director at the East Midlands Development Agency and currently holds a number of other voluntary board positions, including being deputy chairman of a regional touring company and a member of the Midlands Arts Council.
Steph Stewardson (Con)
Steph has lived in Mansfield for 14 years and works as a business manager in a local independent printing firm. She has two daughters and recently completed a degree in business management at Vision West Nottinghamshire College, balancing her studies around full-time work. Steph is particularly passionate about education and has previously been a school governor at her daughter’s primary school, where she worked hard for the best interest of local children and to hold the senior management to account. She’s the best person to fight for the interests of Mansfield residents at County Hall and will make education and social care her top priorities.
Paul Tooley-Okonkwo (TUSC)
I was a bus inspector until made redundant by Nottinghamshire County Council – just one of the cuts in bus services. The elderly and poorer families are hit hardest by these cuts. Public transport should be publicly owned and run for need, not profit. I have three children in school and college. Education faces huge cuts and academies are moving toward privatisation. The Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition opposes all cuts. Why should our children, pensioners and working class people pay for big business and multi-millionaires’ tax havens? TUSC councillors would build strong campaigns to defend our communities against Tory cuts and demand government gives Notts the money it needs. Instead of allowing fracking, risking the environment with few jobs, there should be massive investment in insulation and renewable energy, creating many more jobs. Notts County Council could help this. We campaign for renationalisation of energy and democratic socialist planning.
Con – The Conservative Party;
Lab - The Labour Party;
LD - Liberal Democrats;
TUSC – Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition;
UKIP – UK Independence Party.