Saskia Heijltjes said “In the past I have not been politically active, but I felt I have no choice but to get involved. The fastest route to change is via politicians who recognise that the current system is unsustainable and will act. Residents all over BaNES have tried repeatedly to engage with their councillors, and I saw that Joanna is one of the very few actually interested in delivering what families, children, and residents need. I felt compelled to help her work, and to help her campaign for more Green councillors that will listen, but most of all be brave and make the sometimes hard decisions that our ward, and the wider area, needs in order for us and our families to live in a safe and affordable environment”
Saskia, a local mother of two and founder of Kidical Mass Bath, continued: “The council and many councillors often promise to protect our children, act on the environmental emergencies and make our streets safe, but few act. BaNES has failed to make any cuts in emissions beyond what the national government achieved. In fact, if you factor in the pandemic with closed council offices and reduced services, their emissions have gone up in real terms. I see Joanna, the sole Green, being an often lonely voice calling for real action, and I just felt that I had to help.”
“I founded Kidical Mass with other parents because so many families were shocked and angry that vital safe cycling routes to schools and the University have seemingly been abandoned after concerted efforts by a small but vocal car lobby. After eight protest rides nothing has changed, and families and children are being ignored. I felt that getting involved in politics and the Green Party was the only route to actual change.”
Councillor Joanna Wright, the sole Green Councillor on B&NES Council, said “I am an artist, but I felt I had to stand for election in 2019 because someone had to do something. I could no longer stand and watch our communities struggle with dirty air, environmental problems, and dangerous traffic. It’s a lot to take on as a lone councillor, and while I have had lots of help from the party, it will be really great to have another Green dedicated to helping me serve the residents of Lambridge.
The two of us became active in politics for the same reasons, we can’t sit on the side-lines while the “status quo” continues and many councillors act in the interests of their own career rather than the community. We were promised that the council would act on the climate and nature emergencies as if they are emergencies, and on creating safe streets for our children, and it seems that the only way to do that is to have Greens on your side fighting for it.
With two of us dedicated to working in Lambridge it will give me the vital time I need to scrutinise and question the administration even more while, as a team, we will have even more time to meet residents and help them with their issues and problems.”