Statement from Graham Rogers

We invited them to tell you a little about who they are, any political history and about their political leanings.

Many within the ward of Hermitage have known me as the Elected Member since my election victory in 2012 and my subsequent re-election in 2017, I am seeking support for a further term of office as the Labour Candidate for the ward.

I am an Electrician by Trade, worked in the steel industry as a Shift Electrician for 20 years became a Shop Steward in 1967 and a Senior Steward for the EETPU in 1970 whilst building my own property in Coedpoeth, I became a full time official of the Union I attended EETPU Colleges at Cudham and Esher in my ambition to become a Full Time Trade Union Officer which I proudly held from 1987 until my retirement in 2009. All my working career I have been a member of the Labour Party and still proud to be to this day.

Questions & Answers

1. What are the three biggest issues for your ward, how do you think they need to be resolved, and what will you do to achieve it?

There are many issues in the ward of Hermitage to which I have endeavoured to resolve to the best of my ability. The three main issues that consistuents constantly bring to my attention are: * dog fouling – I funded the installation of dog boxes in key locations within the ward to encourage dog owners to pick up their dog mess. * litter – I spend most weekends when I have the assistance of the Community Team to carry out litter picks in the ward, I also have a helper who picks up litter in the streets to make Hermitage a cleaner and vibrant ward to reside in, a ward to be proud of. * anti-social behaviour - this is an ongoing issue, I have had financial assistance from Offa Community Council and Wales and West Housing and installed extra CCTV Cameras in Nelson Street to assist North Wales Police should issues arise. I answer any queries in a swift and timely manner that my consistuents bring to my attention.

2. What do you think needs to be done to help Wrexham recover from the pandemic and what hands-on-role can you play as a councillor ?

Wrexham was badly affected by the pandemic, it is important that we all play our role in assisting with the rebuilding of the town centre and support the local shops. During the pandemic I and my helpers offered our services to residents who were unable to collect prescriptions, shopping and other errands of significance importance they were unable to carry out due to the pandemic. With the current cost living crisis and following the Pandemic, I will fight to ensure that services are brought out into communities not centralised at the Guildhall. In Labour’s Manifesto, our economic growth strategy aims to create the conditions to move Wrexham forward whilst combatting poverty at its core.

3. As a councillor you may have the chance to take on further roles eg. Lead Member, Audit, Scrutiny. What appeals to you and what skills do you bring to that role?

I enjoy and play an active and interesting role in Council Committees that I am member of these being: Planning Committee encompassing Planning Policy Panel which will encompass the Local Development Plan, Homes and Environment Scrutiny Committee and associated sub committees for example reviewing the Kingdom contract and reviewing residents parking in the town centre wards which Hermitage is part of, unfortunately no conclusion was reached, Wrexham Tenants and Partnership Forum which includes the wellbeing of all Council Tenants and ensuring properties are adapted to the Welsh Housing Quality Standard which includes new bathrooms, new kitchens and new roofs etc which is evident in the Stockwell Grove area, I also represent Wrexham Council at Joint Council for Wales which is held on two occasions in the calendar year – March and October and report on any matters that may affect the residents of Wrexham as a whole. These past ten years I have been a back bencher, I have many transferable skills that I believe I can bring to the role from my past working life and the experience I have gained these past ten years, I am a well articulate speaker, can speak to a wide range of people from various backgrounds, a good listener and always willing to listen and engage with others in debate and discussion. I have good communication skills, I am seen as a mediator and always respond to queries very quickly. The Labour Group has a democratic process that looks at CV’s and skills and appoints the person who best fits the role. If appointed I would be proud to serve as Chair of a Scrutiny Committee or a member of the Executive Board.

4. What do the words climate emergency mean to you and your ward?

The climate emergency is a great worry to myself and that of my consistutents within the ward of Hermitage. I have attended workshops run by Wrexham Council on the work proposed to address climate emergency and Offa Community Council are looking at steps to reduce the climate change. The ward has seen the introduction of LED lighting which is naturally an advantage in the current climate. Promote and engage all consistutents to recycle more, look to increase council vehicles via electric means and install electrical charging points at key locations in the ward such as Hightown Resource Centre. Engage the school children to plant wild flowers and trees, trees place an active and significant role in reducing carbon emissions, however, at the present time there is no facility for additional trees within the ward to promote biodiversity. (albeit it is fair to say Hermitage does not in general suffer from flooding). Work with private developers in having better insulated homes thus reducing energy costs and where possible social housing as well. Hermitage has cruelly had no public transport for the past three years, I have tried continuously to reinstate this provision with Council officers unfortunately to no avail. The Labour Manifesto prioritises a sustainable local public transport system that ensures less emissions and puts communities and people first.

5. What is the biggest thing you would have done differently from the ruling administration over the last 5 years? (Or, if you were part of the Administration - what would you have done differently?)

These past five years have proved to be extremely frustrating and the pandemic has been used as an excuse by many but it is no excuse to witness some schools being placed in Special Measures, it is important for the future generation to have the best education that can be provided it will play a significant part in the role they decide to embark upon. The ESTYN Report sets out the reasons for their significant concern in the Education services in Wrexham and the advice set out in the report needs to be followed and the Council needs to evidence these improvements. Also the needs of social care in the ever growing elderly population, who may have limited or no family for support and who reside in their own homes. This area of service in the private sector is under severe pressure, in our Manifesto we have identified the need to provide Council run care for those who want to remain in their own homes.

6. Local health pressures are well documented, from delayed ambulances to issues in the hospital. How can the council help resolve those problems?

The National Health Service is currently under many pressures and the pandemic added to the pressures particularly these past three years the demise of the closure of surgeries within the borough has seen other surgeries being undated with having to absorb patients from other surgeries that are no longer operational, there is a need to have more GP salaried doctors, nurses and health care workers thus reducing the burden on the A&E Department at Wrexham Maelor Hospital, the A&E department play an important and significant part in the welfare of people’s lives, owing to the lack of surgeries I do believe they are misused at times. The Council could look at joint working and shared resources. Here in Hightown there is a doctor’s surgery which is well used by the residents of Hermitage and surrounding areas.

7. What will you do on a local level to help support people in your ward affected by the cost of living crisis?

The cost of living crisis is a big worry to many of my consistutents in Hermitage and others within the borough, we have witnessed the sharp increase in energy bills, fuel prices, food prices and National Insurance increase, the aforementioned accumulates to a cost of living crisis for all families and individuals who are really struggling with an inflation increase of 8%. The Labour Government in Cardiff have announced a £350M package of additional support and Wrexham Council should be chasing any available grant monies that will assist the people of Wrexham. Should grants become available I will signpost people to support in completing the grant paperwork and also link up with the Offa Community Agent.

8. How would you improve the local education system?

I am an active and well engaged Local Authority Governor for the both schools in the ward these being Ysgol Bodhyfyrd and St Christopher’s School and this provides me with a good understanding of the improvement that is needed in the local education system to ensure the future generation of children are well provided with the necessary tools and skills that will enhance their role in life, once they have decided what path they wish to pursue in their working lives. Unfortunately, there have been a number of schools in Wrexham that have fallen into the Special Measures category. I believe that due to proactive Governing Bodies and the schools leadership teams, the schools in my ward are performing very well, though there is always room for improvement.

9. When the public view the Full Council meeting in June, do you envision you could be part of a Party, Group or coalition, and if so, specifically who and why?

The voters within the ward of Hermitage and the Borough as a whole will decide on the make-up of the Wrexham Council, Councillors need to work effectively together for the benefit of the people of Wrexham. Due to the boundary changes which do not affect Hermitage there are a total of 4 additional Councillors making a total of 56 Councillors. Welsh Labour have selected 30 candidates of which I am proud to be one of, to have overall control of the administration of the Council a Group would need 29 Councillors. The Council is currently run by an Independent and Tory alliance, over the last 17 years Labour has only been a part of the administration for just 2 years. I feel it is time for change, Put your trust in us, Vote Labour. 2005 to 2012 – Lib Dem/Independent/Tory/Plaid run, 2012 to 2014 Independent/Labour run, 2014 to date Independent/Tory run.

10. This is a noteworthy election with 16 and 17 year olds now able to vote, what have you done to engage this new electorate and what do you think is the biggest issue for them locally ?

This is the first time young people in the age bracket of 16 to 17 years are being allowed to vote in local elections. I deliver my regular newsletters, also speak to young people as I walk the ward often. I always take on board their issues, sometimes I agree, sometimes we need a wider conversation, I always listen to their viewpoints and we always part as friends. I have encouraged them now they have the opportunity to vote that they should do so as it is in their interests to participate, ultimately by doing so the issues they face locally will be addressed and could see many benefits for the area they reside in and should enhance the role that they decide to pursue in their working careers. I raised with the Labour Group the need to proactively engage with young people throughout this campaign. Thank you for taking the time to read my submission and please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions. Take care, stay safe, cheers Graham Welsh Labour Candidate for the ward of Hermitage, I trust I can rely on your vote for a further term of office.

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