Karen Bruce seeks selection as Labour candidate in Elmet and Rothwell for 2015 general election

Karen Bruce speaking at Labour Party conferenceI’m humbled and honoured that local Labour Party members and councillors have asked me to stand as Labour’s candidate for Elmet and Rothwell in the 2015 general election and want to let you know that I’ve decided to stand for selection.

We don’t yet know what the timetable will be, but over the next few weeks I want to meet every single local party member to talk about how we win Elmet and Rothwell back for Labour.

As I live in Rothwell, in the constituency, and am a councillor here, I believe that I’m in the strongest position to beat the Conservatives. In fact because of council ward boundary changes I’ve actually been a councillor in three out of the five four council wards that make up the constituency as I used to represent Garforth, Swillington and Methley. I’ve also lived in both Methley and Swillington. This gives me a unique local knowledge and experience.

Elmet and Rothwell is a seat that Labour must win if we are to beat the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition. I know just how hard that fight will be and I’m more than up for the challenge. Since I won the first council seat back off the Liberal Democrats in 2011 we’ve won a second so there is only one left in the constituency. However, we still have a strong base of Conservative councillors that highlight the challenge that we’ve got.

I already use this blog and my Twitter account to take on the Liberal Democrats here in Rothwell and also to challenge Alec Shelbrooke MP our local Tory MP in Elmet and Rothwell. You’ll be seeing even more of that over the next few weeks as we can’t put fighting the Tories and Lib Dems on hold while we decide who Labour’s candidate will be.

I’ve also set up a Karen for Elmet and Rothwell Facebook page that initially I’ll mainly use to have conversations with Labour Party members so that I can build a strong campaign platform to beat Alec Shelbrooke.

I’ll be contacting the local Labour Party members who already know me (and that’s most of you!)  shortly to arrange a good time to meet. But in the meantime don’t hesitate to get in touch with me by texting 07534 822479 or using the contact form.

UPDATE: Quick thanks to Alec Shelbrooke MP for pointing out the typo where it should have said five wards, not four!

UPDATE 2: Added photograph so that the post will display properly in the featured posts list.

Elmet and Rothwell selection for Labour’s Parliamentary candidate

I have been asked by local Labour Party members to put my name forward to be selected as Labour’s Parliamentary candidate for the new constituency of Elmet and Rothwell.The constituency contains most of the old constituency of Elmet (currently represented by Colin Burgon MP), as well as all of the Rothwell ward from the old Morley and Rothwell constituency (Colin Challen MP) and parts of Leeds North East (Fabian Hamilton MP).

I’m humbled and honoured by the support and encouragement that I’ve received from members right across the constituency from Wetherby in the north, through to Garforth, Swillington and Methley, and of course my own ward of Rothwell. I’ve lived in the constituency and have been an active Labour Party campaigner here for most of my adult life. I’ve lived in Methley and Swillington and now live in Carlton, Rothwell with my husband Stuart and little girl Esme (who we’ve just signed up to attend our local school).

Elmet and Rothwell has a proud Labour history, rich in industry, culture and tradition. It is a constituency that Labour must win if we are to protect all that we have achieved since 1997 – and if we are to achieve even more in the future.

Finally I’d again like to thank Colin Burgon MP for all his dedicated service to the the local Labour Party and our local communities. For 26 years – through good times and bad – he has dedicated his life to working for us. I bring enthusiasm, passion, experience, commitment and bags of energy to continue to unite the local Labour Party and ensure we keep campaigning to win Elmet and Rothwell.

How Brits are using #welovetheNHS to support Obama

Karen Bruce campaigning for Barack ObamaLast October I went on holiday to Philadelphia, which is in Pennsylvania and was one of the key states that Barack Obama needed to win. We ended up as a bit of a busman’s holiday as we spent a good bit of time campaigning for Obama. For the holiday we did a house swap with a couple in Philadelphia so we ended up volunteering in the local Fishtown office of the Democrats. What was most amazing is how similar it was canvassing the streets of Philadelphia to doing the same in places like Garforth, Methley, Swillington, Rothwell and Wetherby.The picture is me and Esme preparing to set out to do some good old-fashioned door knocking.

You hear some amazing and moving stories on the doorstep. In one house we visited the mother and grandmother were adamant they weren’t going to bother voting because “all politicians are the same”. After I’d spoken to them for a while we discovered that the grandfather was plagued with health problems and couldn’t afford the treatment he really needed. I explained that all politicians weren’t the same and that one of Obama’s main commitments was healthcare reform to give families like theirs a fair opportunity to receive the same healthcare that in the USA only the privileged can afford. I was so excited when I realised that my arguments had succeeded and that the whole family had pledged to support Obama!

President Obama (I still get goose bumps when I say it) is now fighting right-wing Republicans to get his healthcare reform plans enacted. The Republicans are resorting to every dirty trick in the book and are launching vicious attacks on our NHS, claiming that it’s “socialist” healthcare and it doesn’t give people the care they’d get under America’s private system. The Republicans are running nasty TV ads full of lies attacking the NHS.

Yesterday an amazing thing happened and a guy called Graham Lineham decided to use the internet and people power to fight back. Graham is better known as the award winning comedy writer behind Father Ted and The IT Crowd. He started a hash tag on Twitter called #welovetheNHS, within hours it was the most talked about topic on Twitter as thousands and thousands of people starting sharing their stories of how the NHS had helped them. The Labour Party has now put together a fantastic little widget that means you can display these moving stories on your website or Facebook. As well as showing it below I’ve created a special page for it here.

Opera In the Park 2009 another resounding success

Opera in the Park A wonderful night was had by all at this year’s Opera in the Park which as always was set in the glorious surroundings of Temple Newsam on one of the most beautiful warm evenings we’ve had this year! I’ve always thought that this free event provided by Leeds City Council was a real bonus for Leeds folk to be able to enjoy the delights of popular classics made accessible to all.  It’s now an unmissable tradition for many local people and we had a great evening having a picnic with good friends. Esme, who is two, was still talking about her magical night this morning and I know that our friends’ children enjoyed it just as much as she did. Amongst the many thousands of people there, we usually bump into some familiar faces and it was nice to see Cllr Andrea McKenna (my former ward colleague in Garforth and Swillington) and Cllr Jim McKenna (an Armley councillor). It was also a coincidence that Cllr Stuart Golton, one of the Rothwell Lib Dem councillors, set up his picnic right near where we set up ours with friends. Congratulations to Alfie Boe and Natasha Marsh together with the Halle Symphony Orchestra and the Leeds Festival chorus on their splendid and enjoyable performances.

Open farm Sunday in Swillington

Swill farm 023Today was ‘Open Farm Sunday’ which is great as it gives everyone the opportunity to experience the countryside and connect with the land that feeds us.

We went to a local farm, Swillington Organic Farm, which was taking part, with our little girl Esme. I know Swillington well, having lived there before we moved to neighbouring Carlton, Rothwell, I represented Swillington as a Garforth and Swillington councillor for 6 years so have many friends.We have also gone to the farm shop for its lovely produce several times, as well as getting our Christmas trees there regularly. We were lucky as we bumped into Colin Burgon MP for Elmet and Rothwell who was also enjoying the delights of the farm.

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