Katherine Foxhall for Shrivenham
I moved to Wantage in 2016, and now live in Uffington with my husband and two young children. I run a weekly toddler group, volunteer for the local COVID-19 support group, and try to develop green fingers at the local community garden. I grew up on a small-holding in Devon, where I attended the local comprehensive. I have served in pubs, driven ice cream vans and from an early age learnt about the challenges facing rural communities.
After studying history (and qualifying as a scuba diving instructor) at University, I went on to a career as a historian. I have taught and worked with people from all kinds of backgrounds - from schoolchildren in Manchester to neurologists in America. I am proudest of my work on the history of health, including working with charities and doctors in the UK and US to increase understanding of migraine, a disease that affects 1 in 7 of the world’s population.
In my current job I manage communications and policy research for the Royal Historical Society. This means that every day I make and communicate effective evidence-based arguments whether in high-level documents for policy-makers, or on Twitter.
The thread that runs through all of this a desire to understand the lives and experiences of ordinary people, and to clearly and effectively communicate complex ideas. This is just as relevant to local politics as it is for writing about people who lived long in the past.
Why I am standing
I don’t want to be a ‘politician’. I am a local, working mum of young children who wants to use my background and love for this area to help make Oxfordshire a fairer, healther and more sustainable place to live for people of all backgrounds. I am standing for election of Oxfordshire County Council because I believe that real change, sustainable change, has to come by combining addressing people’s needs with evidence-driven policies. I also believe that these changes must start, and will be most effective, when they are local, immediate, and everyday.
Since the 1970s, Oxfordshire County Council has been controlled or dominated by the Conservative party. We need councillors who understand and represent the communities they live in, and we need to build sustainable, collaborative, practical solutions to the problems people face everyday:
- How do we make cost-effective upgrades to infrastructure that we all rely on everyday including rural roads, high-speed broadband, safe connected cycle routes, reliable and accessible bus services?
- How do we ensure that the health and social care services we all rely on can work together to support those who are most vulnerable, or isolated?
- How do we support our local schools, for whom 2020 has been so devastating, get the resources and staff that they need to educate our children?
- How can we support local businesses that have – and will – suffer most from the effect of COVID-19 and Brexit?
In 2021 these questions will have an urgency we could not have imagined even 18 months ago - and they are all questions that the County Council must take responsibility for. By voting for new candidates in local elections, we can make this happen.
If we can tackle inequality, exploitation and political failure at the local level – as Green representatives across the world have shown can be done – then we can start to build better, long-term alternatives to global problems.
How I will campaign
We will work hard to:
- speak to local stakeholders – parish councils, school representatives, business owners and local people – in order to understand local needs and priorities.
- communicate that this is an election that gives everyone a meaningful vote, and a say in the political decisions that affect them everyday.
- be pro-active and positive in offering a real opportunity to change politics within Oxfordshire
- do our research, basing our campaign on evidence.
Skills and time commitment
- effective communicator, whether presenting in person to a crowded room, writing high-level policy documents or using Twitter to quickly, and rapidly share information.
- fifteen years experience as a professional researcher, with skills to quickly and effectively collate, analyse and present clear and effective evidence-based arguments and information to a wide variety of audiences.
- Experienced in working with a wide range of material, including legislation, policy documents, and scientific evidence.
- Professional experience of social media, website management and digital/virtual working.
- Media experience in article-writing, radio and TV interview.
- Extensive experience in project management and committee service.
- A life-long understanding of and commitment to challenges facing rural communities.
- A commitment to the principles and political programme of the Green Party
I work 2.5 days a week in my current role, and from January 2021 my children will both be in school time. I will commit 2 days a week to the role of candidate and representative – this time can be organised flexibly and responsively.