Rich Lehman (Green Party)
Rich was born and raised in North Kent and has lived most of his life in Swale and the Medway Towns. He now lives on the edge of Faversham with his wife, Bea. He has run his own successful business as a wedding photographer for the past 16 years and has photographed nearly 500 weddings. Due to the pandemic, Rich has been unable to do much photography over the past year, but this has given him the opportunity to become more involved with local politics and to devote more time to working for his community.
During the lockdown Rich volunteered with Faversham Mutual Aid to get essential supplies to people who were self-isolating. He was area organiser, coordinating around 25 volunteers across his neighbourhood.
Rich will fight for:
Increased schools funding – particularly for children who need extra help
Free school meals for all children from families on Universal Credit
Better pay and conditions for health and social care workers
Greater mental health support for those that need it
Faster rollout of highspeed broadband to assist people working from home
Reinstatement of lost bus routes and vital services such as mobile libraries
Rich will hold the Council to account on climate and the environment.
Kent County Council have promised action to reduce carbon emissions, but achieving targets they have set requires sustained work over many decades and they need to go further still.
Rich will push for:
More natural management of our roadside verges and hedges to support biodiversity
Investment in safe, well-funded routes for pedestrians and cyclists
Protection of green and natural spaces
Help to protect Swale’s residents, communities and countryside now and into the future
Rich cares deeply about our communities and the countryside we live in. Over the last year, he has been out and about around our villages delivering newsletters, talking to residents, litter-picking, reporting potholes, blocked drains and fly-tipping. Rich saw so much litter on our roadsides that he set up Swale Litter Squad, lending out litter-picking equipment and empowering people to tidy up their local areas for the good of the environment and our mental health.
Rich will speak up for his community.
We need a committed local voice which will focus on the needs of communities, residents and businesses when decisions are made and budgets drawn up.
Represent the interests of residents when decisions about roads are made
Work with residents and parish councils to protect green and natural spaces
Focus on better responses to problems such as flooding, potholes and streetlighting.
Frances Rehal (Labour)
I am a farmer’s daughter with a wealth of experience in heath and the caring professions. I have been an NHS manager, developed a community mutual organisation, and set up four businesses in Kent. I have led on the development of children’s centres in the county. I have been honoured with an MBE for services to children and families. I am a governor at two local schools. I have stood for parliament for Labour in North Thanet and East Surrey. I have lived in Selling for twenty five years and I have been passionately involved in politics for twenty years. I want to go into politics to make a difference, to address inequality and lack of opportunity. I want to challenge the Tory Party assumption that they will always have majority control of KCC.
The pandemic has shown the shortcomings of the Tory Government with the high death rates, the lack of effective track and trace and the poorest performing economy of the G8. I want to fight for a fairer society, strategies to address the high levels of poverty, strategies to address long term unemployment, better systems to ensure assessment for those with additional educational needs and strategies to address health inequalities. I will campaign for safe cycle routes running parallel and next to railways lines connecting up villages and the town of Faversham. I want to see proportionate housing development in the villages with attention paid to infrastructure to support the increased population. I want to see state of the art fibre to the premises broadband in every village. I urge people to Vote Labour on May 6th.
I have been married to Ash a psychologist for forty three years. We have two adult children, one is a university law lecturer and one a production manager. We have two grand children who live locally. We have a dog Millie, two cats and four hens that I was given as a birthday present.
Charlotte Whitney-Brown (Conservative)
My name is Charlotte Whitney-Brown and I am standing as the Conservative Kent County Council candidate for Swale East villages at the Local Elections on May 6th. I am a lifelong resident of Boughton-under-Blean. I studied at the University of Kent before currently working as a caseworker for a local MP. In my role as a caseworker I strive every day to help local people from all walks of life, of all ages, with a range of issues. Serving our community is my priority. I understand and am aware of local issues as I have been attending Swale East Parish Council meetings for over six months. I have recently been co-opted onto Boughton’s Parish Council as a Parish Councillor.
My priorities for our villages:
Better broadband: Working towards better connectivity and faster speeds for our rural communities. Never has this been more important, particularly as more people are working and studying from home.
Supporting our local businesses and farmers: Championing all of our local businesses so we can shop locally and reduce our carbon footprint.
Protecting our green spaces, countryside and environment: Supporting Kent County Council’s green policies and ensuring our local voices are heard in this climate emergency to protect our environment and wildlife for future generations.
Greener, cleaner and stronger transport links: To help protect the environment and keep our villages connected to each other and beyond.
Repairing our rural roads: Potholes affect everyone and I want to keep the pressure on and ensure our rural roads and lanes are not neglected. Poor pavement surfaces are also an issue which I will be highlighting to ensure there are smooth, safe surfaces and accesses for all.
20mph speed limit through our villages: I know our villages have different opinions on this but I fully support all villages who would like to pursue the option of 20mph on roads through our villages and to have safe pedestrian crossings. It is so important that we protect all our residents, pets and wildlife from speeding vehicles through our villages. I am a member of the newly formed Boughton Speedwatch group.
Cycle routes: To have our villages connected to each other and beyond with safe cycling routes is important. As a keen cyclist I know how beneficial this would be for our health, environment and communities.
On education: As a young woman with Dyslexia I know how essential it is for all children to have the best possible education. I want to ensure all our fantastic teaching staff can continue to deliver an excellent education for children and young people, particularly those with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).
Strong social care: To push for better support and care for all, as well as stronger support in mental health and well-being. As some of my family members work for the NHS and in social care and I know first hand how important it is that our amazing healthcare staff are supported. I have a hidden disability and I want to raise awareness for all people who also have hidden disabilities.
Housing: As a young person, I know how vital affordable housing is for the next generation. Although Borough Councils are responsible for the allocation of housing, I will help to be a voice for local people on future developments. I understand many residents have concerns about the Swale Local Plan and I wrote to Swale Borough Council’s leader to ask for the consultation on the plan to be extended. I strongly support Boughton and Dunkirk’s Neighbourhood Plan and offer my support to all our villages.
Faversham Eye's Opinion
From reading Frances Rehal's statement she looks like a really strong candidate - committed and hardworking. She already has extensive experience in local politics and she has been 'honoured with an MBE for services to children and families'! She ticks all the boxes irrespective of the politics.
Rich Lehmann is a good green litter picker and generally also a strong candidate. If he had been standing in the Abbey Ward he would have our vote.
Charlotte Whitney-Brown is easily the weakest candidate standing locally with the possible exception of Andy Culham. She is taking over from from the disgraced Andrew Bowles. After University it seems that she has never had a real job and presently she works as "a case worker for a local MP". Could that be our own money grabbing Helen Whatley?