I am delighted to hear that Sandra Hart has been selected as Labour's candidate following belated news from Panama that Conservative Stephen Broadhurst is to finally resign. Members of Margate Branch of the Labour Party met at their local headquarters in Northdown Road on Monday evening and unanimously endorsed Sandra Hart as their Prospective Candidate for Dane Valley Ward.
Local girl Sandra spent all of her teenage years living in Upper Dane Road and as an adult, starting a family, her home for almost another decade was in Victoria Avenue. Sandra therefore knows Dane Valley Ward through the personal and practical experience of living, growing up and taking on new responsibilities in the area.
For the last ten years Sandra has owned a long-established hairdressing business in Northdown Road where she previously served her apprenticeship and managed a team of workers for a further twenty five years. Recently she has promoted it as a Fairtrade business.
"I've spent my personal life living in and bringing up a family locally and my working life looking after the needs of clients and staff. I would now welcome the opportunity to help people in a broader sense and to put something more into my local community"
Margate Labour Branch Chairman Cllr. John Watkins said
"Sandra has been an active member for the past decade, regularly helping to deliver ward newsletters and updates to local residents and for the past five years attending key council and group meetings as our local liaison officer. For the past six years Sandra has also supported her husband Cllr. Clive Hart with his office and public duties at both District and County level so she understands the role of a local councillor very well indeed"
I have been impressed at how many meetings Sandra attends. She is a very good listener, and this will redress the balance of those of us who maybe speak more frequently than we should! When she does speak Sandra summarises matters well, and bring an insightful perspective. She understsands as a businesswoman only too well the variable record of Thanet District Council in supporting local commerce. I know she was disappointed at the recent 10% increase in parking charges for shoppers in difficult economic times. The partisan approach taken by Thanet Conservatives to efforts to promote shopping locally is a further regret.
Having been involved in the process as a member of Thanet Labour's Local Government Committee I have been impressed by the conduct of Sandra's husband Clive who is Thanet Labour's Group Leader. He encouraged a number of other Labour Party members to stand for election, and it was unfortunate that family commitments forced an outstanding trade unionist to withdraw as a candidate during the selection process. At no stage did he canvass for his wife Sandra, declaring his interest at all stages of the selection process. There were a number of other very capable candidates who put themselves forward, which augurs well for Labour for the next elections.
In the end though Margate members selected Sandra from having seen her at so many community meetings, and recognising her outstanding local connections. Sandra's husband Clive was ineligible for both the shortlisting and selection meetings, but was very pleased when he got the call to say that Sandra wanted to spend more time with her family.
Good luck to Sandra, she will make an outstanding councillor.