8 February 2015
Kennet and North Wiltshire Green Party has selected two new prospective parliamentary candidates for the Chippenham and Devizes constituencies after the previous candidates had to stand down for personal reasons.
· Political economist Emma Dawnay to stand in Devizes
· Organic farmer Tina Johnston to stand in Chippenham
· Crowdfunding pages set up to help candidates raise money for deposits and election expenses
Emma Dawnay will be the Green Party candidate for Devizes constituency, which also includes Marlborough, Pewsey and Tidworth. Emma is a political economist who has had her home base in Wiltshire since the age of 5. She went to school here before gaining a PhD in Materials Science at Cambridge University, going on to do an executive MBA at the London Business School. In 2005 she joined the New Economics Foundation (nef), where she wrote an influential report on Behavioural Economics.
Emma Dawnay says: “The Green Party has the only economic policy that makes sense – both for people and the planet. I see getting the economy on the right path as a priority, and I will campaign vigorously against austerity and cuts to local services, and for a better safety net for the most vulnerable in society.
“This is a wonderful part of the world, and I feel very privileged to live here. I've always thought of our area as relatively affluent, but I have been shocked to discover that families in Marlborough and Devizes are relying on food banks to feed their families. That shouldn’t - and doesn’t need to be - the case.
“I will campaign for greater local power over decision-making and over how our taxes are spent. We need large-scale green investment in low-carbon technologies. There is great expertise in this constituency, and we need to harness it for the benefit of the people who live here.
“We also need to sort out the transport system so that bus and train services are linked, with buses serving local villages waiting to meet every train. This is vital in rural communities in order to stop our reliance on cars.”
Tina Johnston is the Green Party candidate for Chippenham, which also includes Melksham, Corsham and Bradford-on-Avon. Originally from Bath, she has lived in Wiltshire for most of her life and for the last 11 years she has run an organic farm in Box, until recently supplying the local area with organic veg boxes.
Tina Johnston says: “The Chippenham area is facing great challenges. The scheme to open a 40-acre distribution centre for The Range on the northern side of the town is, I believe, an abomination and I will fight it in any way I can.
“I have an alternative vision for Chippenham; I would like to see a forest on the land marked out for The Range; instead of lorries we would have boats and bikes, instead of vast warehouses, we would have leisure and concert facilities and small-scale, local businesses.
“Chippenham has its roots in the cattle market and is still, at its heart, a market town. But the developers want to change that; they have pound signs in their eyes, and seem to see Chippenham as the next Swindon. Instead, let’s bring the heart back into Chippenham and Melksham, Corsham and Bradford-on-Avon, and let’s try to preserve the very special characteristics of these market towns and the surrounding beautiful villages.”
The previous candidates for Chippenham and Devizes, husband and wife Samantha and Mark Fletcher, had to stand down when Mark was posted abroad for work for six months.
Samantha Fletcher said: “I’m really pleased we’ve found two such great candidates in Emma and Tina, both of whom have lifelong roots in the area. I think they will put up a robust fight against the incumbent Tory Claire Perry and LibDem Duncan Hames and hope that people will get behind our Green candidates and support them. Green Party membership has doubled in the past year and there has never been a better time to be Green.”
Unlike the main parties, the Green Party is not funded by big business, and relies on small donations from many people. Tina Johnston and Emma Dawnay have both set up crowdfunding campaigns to raise the money needed to cover their campaign costs.
Emma’s crowdfunder page is here.
Tina’s crowdfunding page will be launched this week.
Tina Johnston added: “This could be the first crowdfunded election in history. The Greens don’t have big financial backers like the traditional parties, so we need everyone’s help to chip in and help us spread the word about the Green Surge and give people the chance to put a X in the Green Party box on election day.”
The Green Party will be fielding candidates in every constituency in Wiltshire in the General Election in May.
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