Sudbury's first ever Green Party county councillor sets out priorities after surprise win in local elections
Sudbury's first ever Green Party representative on Suffolk County Council admitted her surprise at her margin of victory in last week's local elections, as she outlined her priorities for the town.
Jessie Carter was one of nine Green candidates to be elected onto the county council, as the party tripled its number of seats from the previous election to become the main opposition to the Conservative administration.
She achieved victory in the Sudbury ward with 1,056 votes – 335 more than the second-place Tory candidate, Simon Sudbury.
Miss Carter, who also won the Sudbury Town Council by-election held last week, thanked her campaign team for their support over the last year, adding that she had spoken to hundreds of residents on the doorstep, and found they felt ignored and taken for granted by the Conservative and Labour parties.
She said residents were also concerned about the state of the natural world, pollution and traffic congestion – all issues she hopes to help address in her term as county councillor.
"After canvassing, I knew I was in with a chance, but we thought it would be close between me and the Conservative," Miss Carter told the Free Press. "I never expected to win by such a big margin.
“It’s an amazing achievement and I can’t wait to sink my teeth into the role. It’s a big responsibility now to live up to.
"There are a lot of issues that polarise people in Sudbury. But we do need to be clear that the best way to improve traffic congestion is through encouraging more people to leave their cars at home and walk or cycle.
"We need slower speed limits and more space for cycling and walking. I'd also like to see the lorry route through town diverted along the northern bypass and down to the A12 at Colchester.
"Residents also want to be better informed about what is going on at the council, so that is going to be another of my priorities – to make the council more transparent and more attractive to everyday residents, so they feel they can have a say and understand what is going on within the council.
"The wellbeing mental health of residents is really important to me. Isolation and building community spirit and improving health and wellbeing is another big concern for residents and for me."
Miss Carter, who also runs the Green Man Lounge vegan café and shop in North Street, also emphasised her desire to support local independent business to keep the Sudbury economy vibrant.
“They’re what makes Sudbury special," she said. "The high street needs re-imagining to become the glorious town it deserves to be, supported by small business and local self-employed people who give the town its individual spark.
"I'd prioritise their needs above the big supermarkets and national branded chains."
She added: “I am excited and proud to be part of a nine-person Green Party team on Suffolk County Council, and look forward to it all starting after my induction this week.”