Hi. My name is Susanna Pressel and I’m standing for re-election as a Labour candidate for both the City Council and the County Council for West & Central Oxford in May. I’ve been a City Councillor here in Oxford since 1996. That may sound like a long time, but I can assure you it has flown by. Before that I was a teacher, having been a student at Somerville College.
I originally became a councillor by accident – I reluctantly agreed to put my name on the ballot paper in an unwinnable ward and that caused me to find out how brilliant and rewarding it is, even if you don’t win first time. Every day is different and every day you feel you are making a difference to someone’s life. Often this is in small ways, like sending them some information or making sure their bins are emptied – but they are often really appreciative and– it’s rewarding work. I would strongly encourage you to consider standing for election to a council yourself sometime – I’m sure you won’t regret it.
It is not always recognised but Local Government can make a massive difference to lives locally. We have vital powers surrounding planning, housing, the environment,
transport and community facilities, and we can support the most vulnerable
. We want to build a City that works for everyone – regardless of income or background.
Labour is the main opposition party on the County Council and we could take power next year. The City Council meanwhile has been run by Labour for most of the last 30 years and it has won national acclaim for the way it has dealt with such vital issues as rough-sleeping, child poverty, air quality, congestion and protecting our green-spaces. We were the first city in the UK to run a Citizens’ Assembly on the climate crisis. We need to continue to make progress on such issues, in spite of the pandemic. If only the Conservative County Council could share in providing such leadership on the big issues facing our City…
That’s where you come in! By voting Labour in May’s local elections, and getting your friends to do the same, you will help ensure we have both a City and County Council that will provide pioneering leadership in tackling the climate crisis, supporting vulnerable people and building a greener, healthier City for the 21st Century. Make sure you are registered to vote both at home and in Oxford, and arrange for a postal vote, preferably in both places: https://postalvote.labour.org.uk/. Voting early by mail not only means you can vote more safely, but you get two weeks to vote rather than a single day – meaning your schedule can’t stop you from having your vote heard.
The County Division I represent and for which I’m standing again covers the southern and western part of the city centre. It includes Worcester College, Nuffield, St Peter’s, Pembroke, St John’s, Regent’s Park, St Benet’s Hall, St Cross, Blackfriars, and various annexes, like Cohen Quad, Frewin Hall and the ones in and around St Aldate’s. For some of the annexes, you may be registered at the address of the college rather than the annex. But wherever you are registered, please do contact me if I’m your councillor and tell me what you’d like me to do on your behalf. And if you can, please vote for me in May!