Hannah Lawson, a committed environmentalist and a champion of the arts, has been chosen as the Labour candidate to fight the Castle ward by-election.
If elected Ms Lawson, who was born in the ward and has spent the majority of her adult working life employed in Swansea City Centre, will replace Cllr Sybil Crouch following her death in January.
“I know that if elected I will have some big shoes to fill; Sybil Crouch was a very respected councillor and an influential figure in the arts in Wales,” said the 42-year-old.
“Like Sybil, I have a real passion for the arts and I hope to carry on her work in that capacity.
“I have very strong links with the artistic community in Swansea. As a Director of Swansea Print Workshop, practicing artist, and performer, I passionately believe that the arts are central both to personal wellbeing and creating a pleasant environment.
“I care deeply for my culturally exciting city and its diverse and creative population, and have the motivation to be active in tackling the problems of a city centre ward to make the most of its many assets.
“I am highly enthusiastic about grassroots activism, and I have a strong sense of social justice and providing platforms and opportunities to groups who are underrepresented.
“As a member of Unite Community, I help on issues concerning those out of work or in a precarious job situation, and related issues of poverty and housing.
“I feel that a lot of the skills I developed as a trade union rep would be very relevant and useful to the role; listening to people’s problems and directing them to relevant places, negotiating, consultation, organising, public speaking, finding my way through bureaucracy and different levels of governance, advocacy, accountability – but most of all providing a strong voice for the people I represent.”
Added Ms Lawson: “I am a committed socialist and came to the Labour Party through my very active involvement in the Trade Union movement, elected first site rep, then Vice-Secretary, then Chair of a PCS (Public and Commercial Services Union) branch across seven sites in Wales.”
She is passionate about the issue of climate change and interested in environmental justice issues, sustainability and biodiversity, and believes that urban green spaces are vital in improving physical and mental public health, as well as community cohesion.
She pledges to work alongside Labour colleagues in their work to improve residential areas to tackle problems with litter, fly-tipping, dog fouling and vermin, traffic and parking.
“Since becoming Labour candidate for Castle I’ve been out and about in the ward listening to residents’ concerns, particularly about the increase in anti-social behaviour and crime since lockdown started.
“It’s sad to hear from small shop owners about the attacks they’ve suffered – physical, verbal, and in some cases racial – after providing such a vital service to their local communities and being frontline workers throughout the difficult times we’ve experienced in recent months.
“I’ve been speaking to the Council Leader and other councillors about how we can work with police to make our communities safer and tackle problematic areas. I’m in discussions with our Disability Officer and residents about improving consultation and access in our City centre.
“I’ve also been joining in with local litter-picking and community gardening groups to improve our local environment.”
Leader of Swansea Labour, Cllr Rob Stewart said: “It is, of course, very sad that we are having a by-election at all because of the death of Sybil Crouch, but I am sure Hannah will prove to be an excellent addition to join our hard working Labour councillors team in Castle ward.”
CAPTION: L-R Cllr Fiona Gordon, Cllr Erica Kirchner, Hannah Lawson and Cllr David Phillips