The National Convention is the ‘voice’ of the volunteer wing of our party. I am standing to be one of three Vice Presidents of the Convention, with a seat on the Party Board, because like so many of you I want to increase the recognition of volunteers in our Party. If you have a vote (Association Chairmen, Area and Regional Officers, CWO) please do lend me your support – if you don’t, please ask your local Chairmen who they are voting for!
In 1999 I cut my political teeth by winning a council seat from Labour on Barnsley MBC, building a team from scratch and running a canvassing campaign never seen before. Since then I’ve served the party at all levels, as a volunteer agent and campaign manager, Association Chairman, Deputy and Area Chairman, Deputy Chairman and Chairman of Yorkshire & Humber Region. So I understand the roles you are playing right now, because I have held them myself, and I understand your pains too.
Over those 20 years, I have worked tirelessly to gain, and retain, seats in the North from Labour and the Lib Dems. Seats like Elmet & Rothwell, Keighley, Dewsbury, Colne Valley, Morley & Outwood and the three South Yorkshire seats of Don Valley, Rother Valley and Penistone & Stocksbridge, which we won for the first time ever, to name but a few. I want to see the same thing happen in seats across the country, wherever they are.
As a volunteer, I understand the challenges that you face on a day-to-day basis. If I am elected then I am committed to:
· Providing ongoing leadership and work with colleagues to deliver a winning strategy to gain more Conservative seats.
· Working hard to bring all strands of the Party together to work as one united team.
· Taking on the challenge of keeping those ‘Red Wall’ areas ‘Blue’.
· Ensuring we have the right resources to deliver in all parts of the country.
· Campaigning alongside and actively supporting our volunteers who are often undervalued and underrepresented.
Those who know me will confirm that I am a straight-talking Yorkshire woman who wants to encourage a team of happy, energised, and focused volunteers to build on the progress already made. Whatever the challenges I will always stand up for the interests of our often-undervalued voluntary party.
My way forward will be based on the sharing of ideas, listening to volunteers and creating a positively-charged environment by getting people to work together – so let’s get things moving.
As Conservatives, we are all aiming for the same thing, but sometimes we aren’t pulling in the same direction – so we need to mobilise all of our resources, across the country, and build mutual respect between the different parts of the Party.
My record is all about delivering and winning. If you share my vision, I would be very grateful if you could support me. Thank you.
Debbie Toon MBE, Candidate for Vice-President of the National Convention