Why did you stand as a candidate and get involved in politics?
I decided to stand as a candidate and get involved because I couldn’t stand the fact that the UK – one of the richest countries in the world – is not tackling child poverty, has rising numbers of homeless people and has seen a shameful rise in inequality due to the huge cuts that are being imposed from Westminster. And I can see how this affects our constituency and it made me angry.
But writing letters to papers, debating with my colleagues and friends just wasn’t enough. It wasn’t working. From the sidelines I felt I couldn’t change anything. And that’s why I’m standing as your Labour Candidate here – I want to change things for the better in the Monmouth Constituency.
Tell us a bit about you.
I’ve lived in the constituency for 15 years and I’m a working Mum of two young boys and so this presents challenges that I know many families face every day. The juggle of home, work and now politics. But I have a great campaign team, an extremely supportive husband and I try to ensure that we all get to spend time together even if I am frantically busy. And I’m really fortunate as I work from home. I work as a food campaigner and have previously campaigned on education at ActionAid, and for better environmental policies across the UK.
What do you want to change in the constituency?
There are parts of the constituency where there are real areas of deprivation and I would make sure these areas are not forgotten and help them get the support they need. I want the constituency to be one where all the state schools and colleges are getting the support they need too. If we do this it means we can break the cycle of poverty by giving every child an inspiring and excellent education. One that is tailored to them.
I want to make sure the NHS meets the needs of our community today and delivers excellent health care. And that those who work there get the support they need and credit they deserve.
I want to bring investment into the area and create more jobs, especially for young people. In the whole constituency – and in Abergavenny particularly with the Food Festival – we have so many opportunities to nurture new food businesses and create jobs, but for that we need investment. For my current job I bought in £1.5m investment into the UK from the EU and I can use those skills and contacts to bring investment into the constituency too.
What’s the best thing about being a Candidate?
Meeting people! It’s a real privilege to meet so many different people and hear what their issues are and think about how we can solve them. I’ve also heard a huge number of positive stories, for example about how fantastic our NHS is, and how well people have been treated, so it’s not just the problems I hear about but the successes too. It’s inspiring.
If you want to contact Catherine Fookes you can: Follow her on Twitter: @Cath4Monmouth and email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org