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B


y the time this is published, nomination papers for the local elections – 5 May - will


be in. Why do people put themselves forward? Mostly


they don‘t. It is suggested to them by friends, colleagues, people who know them. Often they are told ‗you won‘t win‘ and accept that, but as the campaign progresses the competitive spirit takes over and they work to achieve a victory. Sometimes there is a big issue – in my case


there was a plan to turn the A412 into a dual carriageway from Watford through Croxley, Rickmansworth, Mill End and Maple Cross demolishing hundreds of homes. Those familiar with the road will realise that we fought it off and the threat is long since forgotten. Curiosity may be a factor. What do councillors


do? How does it work? Can I make a success of it? Just occasionally people who have been successful in other activities feel it may confer a status they would welcome – they are nearly always disappointed. Being a councillor is time consuming,


frustrating, disappointing but is also challenging, exciting, interesting and moving. I sometimes feel the main strength needed is stamina and perseverance. In my experience it is not the cleverest, richest,


best educated, most successful who necessarily make good councillors. All that is pointless unless they have a real interest in people, in the


community, in the local situation, and are prepared to listen carefully to what people say and to have the courage not to promise what they cannot achieve. Three Rivers is a diverse district ranging from


areas of great affluence to areas of deprivation. Ward work varies depending on what sort of ward a councillor represents. It may be mainly dealing with complaints about planning. It may be urgent and pressing calls for assistance by people who are in difficulties and need support, advice, and someone to listen. Often the problems are not to do with the council but they turn to councillors because they don‘t know where else to go. Councillors are not instantly endowed with the


necessary skills when the Returning Officer declares them elected. They have to learn by experience. The one thing they must never forget is that


their prime responsibility is to protect and promote the interest of those they represent– they forget that at their peril! But it is not always easy, as even within a small area there are different views about practically everything. Some find it difficult and do not stand for re-


election. Others get addicted. I am in the latter category and have always found it interesting and challenging. I have worked with and met so many people I respect and like. It is a privilege to represent them.


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