Councillor Federica Smith
Federica believes in helping people, not using politics as a means of scoring points. ‘’The behaviour of our politicians in Parliament, particularly on Prime Minister’s Question Time, is why people don't want to engage in politics. Even at a local level, here in Taunton, personal abuse is thrown; the word ‘despicable’ was used recently to describe our budget amendment proposals (early 2016). I believe passionately that politicians at all levels need to rethink why they are there; it's not a power trip, it's not about the money...it’s about making a difference to people's lives and helping each other....why can't we work on the things we can agree on and then debate (in a professional, not childlike way) and put differences aside to find common ground?
‘’In our budget amendments we asked for eight changes which would still gave a balanced budget (a legal requirement) but which I felt would ensure we were protecting the most vulnerable, creating better equality and allowing for growth within businesses. But these amendments were all rejected.
‘’It was particularly disappointing that £40,000 was cut from the voluntary sector budget; this included a 10% cut for The Link Centre which does an outstanding job in the area for residents. In a budget of millions this should not have happened.’’
In addition to the work Federica does for local residents and in the Borough Council (among other things she chairs ‘corporate scrutiny’) she has also set up ‘Refugee Aid From Taunton (RAFT)’. This charity was set up in August 2015 to provide clothing and food to refugees in Calais and since commencement has raised significant assistance to these refugees.
Federica is a keen enthusiast for getting her message out using Social Media and using Social Media as a means of communicating with the electorate. ‘’I love it as it allows me to inform people on what is happening quickly and easily. I also get casework reported really effectively. For example, Claire (a local resident) on Thursday night let me know of a damaged tree, I emailed late at night and then phoned the team at 8am as potentially it was dangerous. The tree service team were excellent, came out that morning and made it safe - great service all round!’’
Councillor Chris Booth
Chris was elected in a by-election in April 2016 as a representative of Halcon and is one of the youngest memebers of Taunton Deane Borough Council at the age of 27.
He has wasted no time in getting stuck In and currently sits on Planning, Tenant's Management Board, PLanning, Community Scrutiny and Corporate Governance.
Chris lives in the centre of Taunton and is Taunton born and bred.