Continuing our series of pieces highlighting Young Fabians standing in May's local elections, we hear from Kashmire Hawker, candidate for Penn in Wolverhampton.
Why are you standing to be a councillor in your local community?
As a 25 year old from a Working Class family of whom has been through so much, but of whom has achieved such an amount, I am proud to seek the mandate of the people of Penn ward, Wolverhampton.
Penn currently has 2 Conservative and 1 Labour councillors and with 2023 being all-out Elections on new boundaries, this is an opportunity to ensure the residents of Penn get good, youthful and fresh representation.
I moved to Wolverhampton in 2009 a month before turning 12 and little did I know back then, what that move for an Autistic lad like myself would do. I want that for Penn residents, particularly for those with disabilities and the next generation who have been through the ringer over the last few years.
Tell us about the ward you are standing in, such as the biggest concerns on the doorstep and what makes it unique:
Penn is situated in the South West of the city and is at the heart of a key connection into the City Centre and out towards South Staffordshire of which graces its edges.
With rural West Midlands in reach and in view from across the ward on a sunny day, key issues include protecting green spaces, bringing down speeding, supporting local health and social care services, developing schools, having clean spaces and having better housing.
Since beginning campaigning in January, I have come to love its geography and its access to being a route into a city’s heart and the course to venture to the rolling hills. Penn’s community spirit has been evident in all of whom I have met too and this will make me ultra proud of serving them if elected.
How did you find the selection process, and do you think there are ways it can be improved to better support young members?
I was selected in October 2022 and selected fairly straightforwardly, as one of two interested candidates for the three seats. Penn is also my neighbouring ward too, so being close by it felt natural to seek selection.
This was due to at then a smaller number expressing interest in wards across the city and knowing how late I was in accepting a nomination in 2022, I felt based on that experience it would be far less stressful to get a ward tied down.
One disappointing element is the small number of Under 30’s who are running across the city and therefore there needs to be further promotion of why being a younger representative would be a good thing. Selection processes being strenuous and stressful need dealing with to support that process.
What do you hope to bring from your experiences within the Young Fabians into local government?
I am proud to be West Midlands Young Fabians Chair and such service and passion for policy, I feel I will bring strong and positive representation to the people of Penn and Wolverhampton.
The Fabians being the oldest centre-left tank means we have a wonderful opportunity to use our expertise and thinking to good effect and bring about those “Practical Measures, in Pursuit of Noble Causes” for the benefit of all.
What would be your advice to Young Fabians who are considering standing for local government?
Definitely give it consideration and don’t be afraid to reach out to other Young Fabians, of whom many serve right across the country and bring such unique and valuable experiences to their communities.
The impact which Council’s make sometimes feels far too understated, even if as of 2018 the average age and name of a Councillor is a 59 year old named John Smith.
This is where our generation comes in to put that imbalance right.
How can YF members help your campaign between now and May?
Please see https://www.kashmirehawker.com/Hawker4Penn to see my Plan For Penn and key campaign events and I am at Kashmire Hawker for Penn on Facebook and @kashmiredshawker on Instagram. Do drop me a line if you want to give me any support and I shall flip my diary to make that happen.
If you are a YF member standing in the elections and would like to be featured, please get in touch with our Blog Editor Clark Beken via [email protected]
Background of header image from Wikimedia Commons, by Roger Kidd, CC BY-SA 2.0