People

Here is our team of main officers who run the local party and coordinate our activities

April ClarkAPRIL CLARK – Parliamentary Candidate 2017

April joined the Green Party in January 2015 as part of the 'Green Surge'. She says: “I was so frustrated because I didn’t hear politicians talking about the things that matter to me, and I think to most people.”

“Our voting system incentivises our MPs to ignore us – not to represent us. To win a general election, only a few marginal seats matter, so parties focus all their efforts and resources on just a fraction of voters across the whole of the UK.”

“In Tonbridge and Malling, traditionally a ‘safe’ Conservative seat, we have a responsibility to shout loud about what matters to us, to make our voice heard in Westminster. We can have an impact – by voting for what we believe in, and by campaigning for proportional representation so all our votes matter.”

April was born in Australia and moved to the UK in 2005 (she has dual Australian & British citizenship). She has lived in central Tonbridge since May 2008 and works full time in London in the Financial Services industry.

In 2015 April helped establish a new branch of the WI in South Tonbridge, attracting over 150 local women to the launch event. The group continues to thrive, with a diverse range of ages and backgrounds (www.southtonbridgewi.com).


Until recently, April was Vice Chair of a national disability charity, Attitude is Everything, which aims to improve access for deaf and disabled fans and artists to live music (www.attitudeiseverything.org.uk).

April served a term on the Equality and Diversity Committee of the Green Party of England and Wales, whose remit is to improve diversity and inclusion within the national party itself for women, people of colour, LGBTIQA people, people with disabilities and other under-represented groups.

April stood for the Tonbridge & Malling constituency in the 8th June 2017 general election.


 

Howard PorterHOWARD PORTER – Branch Chair

Howard has lived in the borough with his wife and two children for over twenty years. He is the proprietor of a small graphic design business and also has a background in teaching, mainly at FE and HE level.

Howard joined the Green Party some ten years ago. He says: “It finally dawned on me that the way we live is unsustainable. There are huge challenges at every level from the global to the local but politicians don’t seem able to grasp the seriousness of things like climate change and, at best, only offer half baked solutions.

“I belief firmly that if we are to offer a viable future to our children, we need to start doing things differently, using renewable energy, adopting a cradle to cradle approach the manufacturing and developing a ‘circular economy’ where nothing is wasted.

“We also need to build a much fairer society which values everybody and offers every member a chance to have a say in their community and to take responsibility for its direction.
“The natural world and all its resources are being used up at an alarming rate while the disparities between the haves and the have nots increases daily. Quite simply, we can’t go on like this which is why I decided to join the Greens, the only party that appreciates the scale of the problems we face and has developed practical and sensible policies to address them.”
Howard also has an interest in small businesses and sees this as a crucial sector in transforming the economy. He is chair of Tonbridge Town Team and a board member of Kent Farmers’ Market Association.

“Connecting people to local food and other products and supporting small business (that employs around 80% of the workforce nationally) is key to building an economy that is both vibrant and sustainable. To me, being “green” isn’t so much about what we need to give up but more about how we can enrich our lives through being better connected to the natural world and each other.”


 

Mark HoodMARK HOOD – Branch Vice-Chair

Mark has lived in Tonbridge almost all his life and is married to Andrea. They have two young children, Sam and Rowan. His Mum, Dad, Sister and Brother all live in the town. Having worked in the printing industry for 25 years he has now forged another career in horticulture.

Since changing career he has been working in his community and established the Barden Residents’ Association in the corner of town he has called home since 1993. He is one of the organisers of the Tonbridge Calling music festival which encourages people to see past the things that divide us to celebrate the things that bring us together. He also revived the Tonbridge Christmas Festival in the early 2000’s presenting a programme of music and contemporary arts for four years.

“I believe that the policies of the Green Party provide a comprehensive vision for a fairer future for all mankind, focussing on people and our planet. Now is the time to commit to leaving fossil fuels in the ground and to embrace the clean energy solutions that renewables offer. I am particularly concerned that local development should be concentrated on providing much needed social housing for local people to prevent a generation being forced out of their neighbourhood. The land grab of our precious countryside to feed demand for luxury homes for people moving out of London is unsustainable.”

“Tonbridge and Malling has a bright future with its fantastic schools, community and amenities. However we need councillors who will stand up for it rather than be apologists for a never ending cycle of cuts which is harming the most vulnerable disproportionately. It cannot be right that foodbanks are becoming normalised as a part of our welfare system, that the United Nations cites our government as abusing the human rights of disabled people or that the Red Cross has to declare a humanitarian crisis in our NHS. Our country deserves better than this and I will campaign for a brighter future for all of us."


 

Richard ByattRICHARD BYATT – Media Officer and Branch Treasurer

Richard has lived in West Malling for over 25 years. He worked as a journalist and editor and was communications director of a professional body. He is now a freelance writer and researcher. Richard is a keen cyclist and walker and is particularly interested in protecting the wonderful environment and wildlife habitats we have in Kent. He is a member of West Malling Parish Council.


 

Fran LongFRAN LONG – Branch Secretary and Election Agent

Fran Long is Tonbridge and Malling Green Party secretary, election agent and nominating officer.  Fran is a retired nurse/midwife.  She has been a member of the Green Party for 8 years, and is also actively involved with Friends of the Earth and the Angel Community Garden.

Fran's particular concerns locally are traffic congestion and pollution, which lead to poor health.  Fran would like to see improved facilities for cycling and walking, making active transport a safer and more popular choice. This would include 20 mph speed limit throughout residential areas, and more cycle paths separated from traffic.  She would also like improved and cheaper bus services to make these a more popular choice, and an end to dirty diesel buses in the High Street.