The new general election candidate for North Devon Liberal Democrats is targeting fair funding, health services and improving transport provision as she gets to work in the area.
Dr Kirsten Johnson was selected as the Lib Dem prospective parliamentary candidate for North Devon in June.
A county councillor and professional pianist from Oxfordshire, Dr Johnson will soon be moving into the area to devote her time to her campaign, but she has already been taking the time to get to know North Devon.
Her family already has links to the Liberal Democrats in North Devon, with her mother-in-law growing up in Landkey. Her father and grandfather were both chairs of the North Devon Liberal Party.
“I’ve enjoyed exploring the constituency and getting to know people throughout North Devon,” she said.
“Up and down the constituency I’ve enjoyed seeing communities come together. There’s a great sense of community spirit in North Devon – everybody seems to know each other and it’s been great listening to what local residents are concerned about.”
Those concerns include adequate funding for schools and core services such as health and social care. One of her own particular areas of concern is the mental health of young people and how services can be improved.
“I think North Devon feels marginalised,” she said.
“Schools get almost £300 less per pupil in North Devon than they would in other parts of the country and I think that’s grossly unfair.
“I’m concerned about health and social care services. We have an aging population and we need to provide proper care, quality care and the kind of care people want so I think we need to fund those services and also listen to what local people want when it comes to community based care.
“We’ve seen in the papers recently the rise of suicide in teenagers, which is shameful.
“We need to provide so much better funding for preventative care, for early intervention, and we need to enable these children and young people to have a full life.
“It’s something that makes me very angry that we don’t get right in Westminster and its something I would fight very passionately for were I to be elected.”