As part of our final series of interviews for the upcoming local elections for Maidstone Borough Council, here it’s the turn of Maureen Cleator, long-time activist, Labour member, and our candidate for Shepway South, to answer some questions and give you the lowdown on why she is worthy of your vote.
Hi Moe, thanks for speaking with us today. Can you tell everyone a bit about yourself?
Hi, of course. I’ve lived in Maidstone for 35 years, since my family was posted to 36 Engineer Regiment. I work in Shepway for Kent County Council in social care, supporting people, visiting them at home and in the community. In Covid secure buildings, of course. And I’m now standing to represent Shepway South in the upcoming election.
How did you get involved in politics?
I became involved in politics because of cuts in services for the people that I was supporting in my job. And at the same time, the aggressive development in Maidstone, with little infrastructure to support it, doesn’t support local people or those that are really in need. I just couldn’t stand-by and let it happen. I’m involved with UNISON too. I’m a lead negotiator on pay, budget and local government funding, as well as more recently, on COVID response and recovery. And I’ve campaigned against homelessness, solving anti-social behaviour, veterans and welfare and against cuts to social care services.
I guess I don’t like it when working people aren’t given opportunity to live their lives in relative comfort; I’m not talking about riches, just being able to work hard but enjoy life as a result – whether that’s in not worrying about their health, mental or physical, going for a drink every now and again or that space isn’t taken to make money for developers rather than for the benefit of local people.
Can you give us any specifics of what you will do, if elected as representative of Shepway South?
There’s a lot I would love to do for the area. But initial priorities for me would be getting investment in Shepway; it’s time that facilities met the needs of the community. For example, the flats in Cambridge Crescent and Northumberland Court are in urgent need of upgrade or replacement. There’s constant development that is causing infrastructure issues for people in Willington Street and Sutton Road, all exacerbated by disruption on the M20 and continued lack of action by the by Conservative run KCC on a relief road; with Willington Street used as a way of avoiding diversion by lorries. It’s a nightmare for residents and something I want to help stop.
Ok, so give us your pitch – why should people vote for you in this election?
Ok, here it goes – As your local councillor I give you my commitment that I will work with YOU to make a real difference for the local community, to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour, and work with you to ensure that Shepway South is a clean safe and better place to live. Together we can make that happen. Together we can make a difference.