Statement from Katie Brisco
We invited them to tell you a little about who they are, any political history and about their political leanings.
I’m Katie Brisco, I’m 40 years old, a mum of two and I work in Wrexham as a Night Team Leader in communications.
With the exception of a few years at university, I’ve lived in the area all of my life. I grew up in Coedpoeth, and then moved to Broughton Community, where I have lived for almost 20 years. I am a Council tenant, and my children attend Ysgol Penrhyn.
Coming from a background of hardworking steelworkers, coal miners, and nurses, I was brought up in a staunch Labour voting environment, and I too voted as such until I became very disillusioned with the Party at the beginning of 2020.
Plaid Cymru seemed a natural fit, as the only Party to truly have the best interests of our people, our communities, and our country at the heart of their policies.
I decided to stand for election on the 5th of May because I care for this community, and whilst I may not have the typical acumen associated with election candidates, I bring fresh eyes, ears, energy, and a commitment to ensure that your voices are heard in Guildhall.
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?
Speeding – this seems to be endemic across the area, and several roads in the Ward have been highlighted to me. Aside from the obvious danger this poses, there is also the noise disturbance that inevitably comes with it. In recent conversations with a number of residents, they felt that their complaints raised about this issue had not been handled satisfactorily.I would look to involve the relevant council departments to conduct a survey of areas most affected by this issue, with the possibility of installing speed deterrents to ensure the safety of our residents. Strain on services – we’ve had hundreds of new houses built in the area in recent years, and with plans for further development in New Broughton, our schools and GP surgery are going to be put under even more pressure. Fellow parents have spoken to me about their concerns over placements for their children being available, and class sizes, which can impact learning. I have also heard worries about children’s services for additional needs being incredibly difficult to access, which is unacceptable. Further development also means more traffic on our already congested roads, and an increase in pollution. I would actively be seeking to improve community infrastructure to ensure that our services are supported. Buses – services around and through the ward have recently been reduced, which seems completely counterproductive in addressing climate concerns. Using public transport reduces carbon emissions, improves air quality, and increases public health. We need a good, reliable, regular service to and through the ward. There are plenty of people out there – myself included – that don’t currently own a car, or are finding it increasingly more expensive to run a family car with rising fuel costs.
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 ?
During the pandemic, mental health for a lot of people declined. I am concerned that the long-lasting effects of this, coupled with the fact that mental health services across the country are under strain, could lead to members of our community feeling more isolated and not sure where to turn to access the help that they need. Having had my own struggles previously, I would want to make sure that those who need help, reach services, be it by signposting or assisting with access. In the wider sense, it would be great to see Wrecsam return to it’s market town glory like I remember it, and with the success of the recent Saturday market in town, I would actively encourage local traders, local spending, and further footfall in town to ‘shop local’. Our town will benefit from the spending, and subsequently so will our communities.
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?
Having worked in various companies across Wrecsam over the years, and in my current job role, I have developed a keen eye for detail, so I feel Audit or Scrutiny would be the most appealing. However, at the moment I am more interested in being the most effective and present councillor for the ward, if elected!
4. What do the words climate emergency mean to you and your ward?
Our Council declared a climate emergency back in 2019, and yet 74% of current carbon emissions are due to outsourcing procurement. Residents in the ward are aware of the issues, but currently their immediate and over riding concerns are how to afford keeping warm, keeping fed and keeping a roof over their heads with the spiralling costs of living. If elected as Councillor for Gwenfro, I would of course welcome initiatives to address climate crisis, but fundamentally the Council needs to be leading by example after their promises to have zero carbon emissions by 2030. Perhaps a starting point would be sourcing local suppliers, not reducing our public transport, and reaching out to communities with funds, hints and tips to help, that anyone could achieve, such as sowing wildflower seeds in green spaces.
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?)
Listened. Whilst I appreciate not everything can be solved quickly and easily, and there are some issues that are going to be nigh on impossible to rectify to everyone’s satisfaction, it seems a fundamental flaw of the current administration is that they are just not listening. Let’s take city status for example, the overwhelming response from residents is that the people of Wrecsam don’t want it!
6. Local health pressures are well documented, from delayed ambulances to issues in the hospital. How can the council help resolve those problems?
I think everyone is well aware that our wonderful NHS is in crisis. Ultimately, we need a top-down approach to tackle this.However, we can raise awareness locally, and signpost to other resources to help people - pharmacies for common ailments, minors units, and other services, to relieve the pressure in our A&E department.We can also take a close look at the pressures put on services due to continued development of areas in Wrecsam without ensuring we have the proper infrastructure to support the increase in population.
7. What will you do on a local level to help support people in your ward affected by the cost of living crisis?
Honestly, I am so concerned for people right now. We’re all feeling a squeeze on our household incomes. With everything increasing - NI contributions, rent, water rates, gas and electric, council tax, food costs, and fuel costs, I understand the worries only too well.Plaid were the only group to vote against the recent Council Tax rise. Plaid have also secured free school meals for all primary school children, with the aim to extend this to secondary school pupils too. In the immediate future, if elected I would ensure that anyone reaching out for help is able to access the services available to them.
8. How would you improve the local education system?
I am very aware that there are concerns regarding pressures on our schools, again this can be linked back to infrastructure and development in the area. It is vital that staff are supported to do the amazing job they have trained so hard to do. It is also important for our schools to be supported to meet educational needs and provide enough places for pupils in the area.Also, for children that need additional support, it is vital that services are easily accessible to them and their families.
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?
I am standing as a member of Plaid Cymru with 23 exceptional people, who are ready to work for the people of Wrecsam. If elected, it would be a privilege and pleasure to sit alongside them.
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 ?
It is fantastic to see and hear so many younger people becoming interested in politics and voting for their futures. This year, for example, we have James standing for Bryn Cefn at age 18, and Cameron for Wynnstay, who is 19, which speaks volumes for how engaged the generation is. I have had great discussions with a number of young people across the area and am always blown away by their passion for various causes. In conversation, I am hearing that younger generations are increasingly frustrated with a lack of opportunities, and an overall feeling that their opinions are often disregarded. In the age of social media, I think it is important to engage with younger voters across various platforms, to make sure they are informed, and encourage open, honest communication on issues that are important to them.
Social & Web links
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- Put it in the ballot box.
OTHER CANDIDATES FOR Gwenfro
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