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Oxford students run for Council seats

Nine Oxford students are running in tomorrow’s Oxfordshire City Council elections.

The student-candidates include Jim Brennan, Matthew Hull, Finn Conway, Alexander Curtis, Adam Ellison, David Pearson, Harry Samuels, Emma Teworte, and Chris Witt.

Harry Samuels, a fourth-year Classicist at New College, is running as the Liberal Democrat candidate for Iffley Fields.

Samuels told Cherwell: “I’m running to give residents in Iffley fields – including hundreds of students who live out – the chance to vote for liberal values.

“I’m proud that the Lib Dems in Oxford are standing against Labour’s fines on the homeless and confiscations of property, in favour of more genuinely affordable housing, and continuing to stand up for EU citizens and guarantee they are supported while also calling for an exit from Brexit.”

Matthew Hull, a fourth-year Classicist at Oriel, is running as the Green Party candidate for Northfield Brook.

Hull told Cherwell: “I’m standing for fairer treatment of Oxfords homeless. Homeless numbers are skyrocketing, due to systematic neglect by national governments. Oxford should respond with care; instead, the Labour city council has fined homeless constituents and excluded them from public space.

“As a councillor, I would revoke these draconian council orders and protect vital homelessness services.

Finn Conway, a second-year Classicist at Balliol, is running as the Liberal Democrat candidate for Holywell Ward.

Conway told Cherwell: “Our two primary issues this election are housing and homelessness. On both these issues, Labour have failed: they haven’t build nearly enough affordable housing; they’ve tried to bill tower block residents £50,000 per head for repairs; they’ve introduced fines that almost exclusively affect homeless people; and they’ve used new powers to confiscate their bedding and belongings.

“We’re offering an alternative this election: more compassionate solutions and a new approach to dealing with these issues – sorely needed in a council dominated by a Labour supermajority.”

Alexander Curtis, a third-year geographer at St Catherine’s, is running as the Conservative candidate for North Ward.

Curtis told Cherwell: “Oxford City Council is in a dire state, and the Labour administration running it have been allowed to get away with too much for too long. Rather than regularly voting in favour of the city council’s flawed policies like the Oxford Liberal Democrats, I would provide real opposition and promote viable alternatives to the current poor quality of governance if I was elected as city councillor for North ward.”

Jim Brennan, a second-year Geographer at St Peter’s, is running as the Conservative candidate for St Mary’s Ward.

Brennan told Cherwell: “The Conservatives next door in Cherwell have built 15 times as much affordable housing than this Labour council.

“I am the only candidate in my ward that actually lives there – do we really want career politicians? We back ourselves – the Conservatives are the only party and standing in every Oxford seat. Do we want this council properly opposed or not?”

He added: “To quote Public Enemy, fight the power.”

Adam Ellison, a second-year History and Politics student at Magdalen, is running as the Labour candidate in Wolvercote Ward.

Ellison told Cherwell: “Local elections can be hugely impactful in how we live our day to day lives. Young people getting involved in a local level, as voters and candidates, is essential to having our voices heard and ensuring that at all levels politics remains dynamic and representative of all ages and demographics.

“Democracy is healthier and stronger the more of us get involved and I hope not only to be a proactive and effective representative for the people of Wolvercote but to be a voice for students and young professionals in Oxford.”

David Pearson, a third-year Biologist at St Hilda’s, is running as the Conservative candidate for Holywell Ward.

Pearson told Cherwell: “I have always preferred the sincerity of grassroots campaigning to the dark arts of student politics. Policy starts with people, and this year is no different.

“I am excited to sand on a dynamic policy platform which really gets to the heart of the challenges facing our city.”

Emma Teworte, a first-year History and Politics student at St Hilda’s, is running as the Green Party candidate for Carfax Ward.

Tewrote told Cherwell: “I am standing in Carfax because I believe the City Council needs to be held to account. Labour currently has and will probably maintain an overwhelming majority on the Council – and that cannot be good for a healthy democracy.

“Having Greens on the Council is about more than improving democratic quality, though. We can make a real difference in policy.

“Climate breakdown is a global issue that I want to address on Council level. Just this week, a Green motion restricting single-use plastics was passed by the Council, for example. I want to work with student and local organisations to further this.”

Chris Witt, a DPhil student in Artificial Intelligence engineering at St Catherine’s, is running as the Green Party candidate for Blackbird Leys.

Witt told Cherwell: “It’s about giving the young people in Blackbird Leys choices; changing voting from something irrelevant to a realistic vehicle for expanding their horizons.

“The focus of the campaign is to make Blackbird Leys an attractive centre for start-ups, beginning with the grassroots of providing free IT training to residents. This will complement the anti-austerity and community building measures that the Green party stands for.”

The elections will be held tomorrow. Registered voters were sent poll cards with the details of their polling station in late March.

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