Liberal Democrat Voice Stars of 2015 Part 4

We wanted to honour those Liberal Democrats that our readers felt were true stars of 2015, which has been one of the toughest years in our party’s history. Over the past few days, we have sought out  nominations and now have a rather impressive list that we’ll be publishing in instalments during this week. Here is the fourth part. Their names come with the comments made about the contribution they have made. Some are parliamentarians, some are councillors, most are grassroots activists. Let’s celebrate them and the many others who are fighting fto keep that Liberal Democrat flame alive. These are our Liberal Democrat stars of 2015.

Cllr Fran Wilson

Fran is Leader of Maidstone BC

You can’t get bluer then the County of Kent, with only two out of the counties district and borough Councils not being Tory controlled, one of those is UKIP lead,  the other is Lib Dem lead Maidstone. Maidstone went orange in May 2015, despite a disappointing general election result, the Lib Dems continue to be the main opposition to the Tories in the Town. Under the leadership of veteran Lib Dem Cllr Fran Wilson, the Councils Lib Dem group brought together a rainbow coalition of parties to take control of the Council and rid Maidstone of its unpopular Tory rulers. Uniting Lab, UKIP and Independents they have dumped the hated Labour executive/cabinet system and reintroduced the more inclusive committee system, as a result giving every Councillor a voice on the Council. This is Fran’s second stint as Council Leader, who is the only female Council Leader in Kent, being no novice to local government,  she walks a daily tight rope of trying to keep the Tories out of power in Maidstone, with her informal “rainbow” coalition, at the same time Fran and her colleagues continue to fly the Lib Dem flag in Kent and deliver key Lib Dem polices in the Town.

Pablo Ohana

John Leech’s loss in Manchester Withington was an absolute injustice after the amazing and fierce campaign he and his team ran.

Pablo came up with this ‘Make it 15’ concept, and despite knowing that John was one of our MPs facing an impending disaster, did not let that stop the force behind the campaign. I watched with awe as he plastered John’s name and accompanying hash tag across the constituency through billboards, ad-vans, hoodies for canvassers, posters and garden-boards everywhere and a very engaging social media campaign online.

Despite the crushing defeat, Pablo has gone on to work with the party to run our digital campaign to stay in Europe, and continues to run John Leech’s 2016 local election campaign. Over Christmas I assume it was him behind ‘John Leech’s 12 Days of Action’ Christmas campaign which, despite causing quite the stir with local Labour councillors, was another encouraging, positive and engaging campaign that reminded us what a loss Manchester has suffered.

I recently attended a digital training session in London held by Brogan Savage (another star!) and the London Lib Dems where Pablo spoke about running an email campaign. It was a great event and he was always so energetic and enthusiastic that it became infectious. After the session I spoke to him about what motivates him to keep working for John after the loss they suffered. His response was genuinely inspiring, as he spoke about his deep guilt for not being able to re-elect John in May, before quickly moving on to his complete dedication to electing him in 2016. He spoke with such passion about what an excellent MP John had been and how Manchester isn’t the same without him.

Pablo is an inspiring young man, who after meeting just twice has enhanced my experience in the party, and who will undoubtedly change the face of this party for the better.

Ray Russell

I would nominate Ray Russell of Chesterfield. He joined in the 1970 General Election and has worked tirelessly for the next 45 years. Good on policy but would always sweat the details of campaigning too rather than just sit and talk. Ray is one of the pretty small band who can say they led a majority controlled LD Council since WW2 -which he did extremely well for 8 years from 2003 until the national catastrophe put Labour back in charge. Despite that he continued to work hard and was absolutely central to Chesterfield holding, despite everything, 82% of its Council seats in May 2015.

Cllr Will Forster

I would like to nominate Cllr Will Forster, a Borough and County Councillor in Woking. He has led the local Council Group as leader with tenacity and good humour. I have watched Will grow into the role of campaigner for quite a few years. In him I see dogged determination and an enormous capacity for work on behalf of local residents. He is a true Liberal and a true Democrat……Can’t ask for anything more!

The Ceredigion Campaign Team

I would like to nominate the entire team for the re-election of Mark Williams as the MP for Ceredigion (that includes Bryony Davies, Elizabeth Evans, Michael Woods and Mary Bott)

If you have anyone else you think deserves to be on the Roll of Honour, it’s not too late to tell us.

You can make your suggestions in several ways:

  • in the comments to this and other posts in the next few days
  • by emailing [email protected]
  • by tweeting @libdemvoice

Just tell us who you are nominating and why.

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This entry was posted in LDV Awards.
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