Sonja Francis for Thame & Chinnor
I am an ex Special Education Teacher, and Journalist, currently Editor of www.thame.net I have lived in Oxfordshire for almost 50 years, including Henley-on-Thames, and latterly Thame for the past 30 years, where I have brought up my three children. I have been interested in Environmental matters practically all my life, being a longtime member of Friends of The Earth (currently Chinnor & Thame), and a paid up supporter of Greenpeace and Extinction Rebellion. I was elected to Thame Town Council in May 2019. I enjoy cycling, gardening, watching crime dramas and quiz programmes on TV, Radio 4, live music of all kinds keeping up with current affairs.
Why I am standing
I am standing for Oxfordshire County Council mainly because I am dissatisfied with its lack of policies and prioritisation of actions in response to its Declaration of a Climate Emergency, it's lack of adequate support for young people, mental health, Elderly care and the vulnerable generally. I am also fed up with hearing complaints from fellow constituents and fellow town councillors about the lack of response and communication from our current County Councillor, and his lack of representing the needs of the ward at county hall level.
Additionally, I admire immensely the huge efforts made at county hall by our existing Green County Councillor, Pete Sudbury, who needs support!
How I will campaign
Hopefully, I will have the support of fellow Green Party Members, both locally and county wide, to put together a manifesto and publicity material, including a social media campaign aimed at the young especially, promoting Green Party ideals and policies, and how I will reflect them if elected at county council level. Taking Covid 19 into consideration, and the safety guidance at the time, door-to-door campaigning and telephone campaigning will also be important.
I would also be interested in trying a new approach, of a twice weekly video talking about a particular green issue for the county that I intend to address if elected. This could increase to daily as the election gets nearer. If door-to-door canvassing is still restricted because of Covid-19 by May, a range of media methods will need to be used. Older people and those without internet will need to be catered for, and a short, sharp campaign for Postal Voting will be needed to catch older, housebound people etc - something I think the party missed out on at the last election. (Many people told me they would have voted for me if I had come round earlier, but they'd already sent their postal vote in)
Skills and time commitment
I like to think I am friendly and able to speak to people at all levels; I am energetic and doggedly focused on things that matter to me such as the environment, family and my community, which I am honoured to represent.
I have a busy life but am able to prioritise and fortunately, I have a very supportive husband who does most of the shopping and cooking!