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  • Harriet Main

CYW Candidate Profile - Jodie Clark

"Conservative Young Women have highlighted to me that I am definitely not alone and I am very much valued and part of the most supportive team. They have supported me by giving me access to events that have broadened my horizons."

Jodie is 25 and is originally from Harlow, Essex. Jodie also spent 4 years living in the sunny South West in Camborne, Cornwall before moving to Colchester where she currently resides in the small village of Wivenhoe, where she is standing for both Borough and County Council. Politically, her main interests are Brexit (she is a proud Brexiteer), Education and greater gender equality in the public sphere. She also describes herself as an unapologetic feminist, huge Stevie Nicks fan, enjoys reading, cooking and going to the pub.

Why did you get involved in Conservative Young Women?

I was first involved with the CYW back in the summer 2019, after taking a year out of politics I was welcomed back with open arms in the autumn of 2020. I got involved as I wanted to meet like-minded individuals and absorb the wealth of knowledge and advice that is always accessible in the CYW group. There are very few young conservative women in my local area and I often felt lonely in my quest to smash the glass ceiling and get elected but, CYW has highlighted to me that I am definitely not alone and I am very much valued and part of the most supportive team.

What do you want to achieve during your time on the Conservative Young Women’s Committee?

Ultimately my goal is to get elected however, with the connections readily available to me through CYW I want to build my own personal network and enhance my career and political prospects. Additionally, I would like to be able to reach out to other Conservative Young Women in my local area to bring something new and exciting to our local association.

How have Conservative Young Women supported you in standing?

CYW have supported me by giving me access to events that have broadened my horizons in terms of applying for new jobs. The careers events in particularly have given me an insight into the lives of women who work in politics on various levels and has made me more determined than ever to become an MP one day. Additionally, the Whatsapp groups have allowed me to share my candidate Facebook page with a wider audience as they were first group of people to give me those all important likes.

How do you think we can encourage more young women into politics?

I don’t think there’s any one strategy to do this, I think each area is very different and we should tailor our strategies to the demographic. However, a good start would be going in to local colleges and VI Form’s to talk to the young women their and illuminate the many opportunities available to them within the Conservative Party and politics on various levels. This way we can build a solid base of future supporters, voters and prospective candidates.

What experience do you think you could bring?

I think what I bring to the table is an ability to connect with people from all walks of life. Having moved around a lot and coming from more humble beginnings I can empathise a lot with ordinary people. I know some of their struggles having been raised, in my teenage years, by a single mother on benefits in a relatively deprived area of Cornwall. It also made me value the fantastic education I was provided with at one of the, at the time, new Academy status secondary school. I have a great understanding of the role teachers play in shaping young minds, instilling a strong sense of self-reliance and belief that your background does not hinder your ability to achieve great things.

Why did you decide to get involved in Politics?

From a very young age I was always asking questions and was never satisfied with the answers given to me. I got involved in Politics to be able to ask the big questions to people in power and influence the answers. Though I would say the catalyst was the 2014 European Parliament elections, which was the first election I voted in. As an idealistic 18-year-old I had a strong sense of Queen and Country and believed (and still do!) that Britain would be better off out of the EU in order to be allowed to prosper as an independent nation. I have never wavered in this belief and with the roll out of our world leading vaccination programme I’m being proved right over and over again!

Why did you decide to stand to be a local Councillor?

I decided to stand as I currently reside in a very rural area that by rights should be blue! Additionally, I am unsatisfied with the current leadership here in Wivenhoe. The LibDems/Labour councillors have failed the residents here by allowing and actively voting for a Garden Community which directly impacts the beauty of the surrounding area and threatens the independence and identity of the village. Places like Wivenhoe do not deserve to be absorbed by the Borough and turned into just another suburb!

What would you like to achieve as a Councillor?

Keeping it real, I can’t stop the Garden Community being built as the plans have been voted for by the LibDem/Labour led council, the alternative would leave the area vulnerable to speculative development which would be a lot worse. So, I would like to guarantee that the plans are executed with local voices behind them and to ensure that the term ”infrastructure led” isn’t used as merely a buzz term in order to justify development and sate local opposition.

How do you think you could achieve these goals?

Mainly by listening to the residents and people with experience in local planning. I am aware that I am young but that doesn’t necessarily mean I am inexperienced or lack the brains to pick things up quickly. On a personal level, I don’t shy away from fights worth having! So am willing to use my own communication skills to hold the people, who voted for these plans, to account to make sure that local voices are heard and considered going forward.

What are the biggest challenges can you see facing local councils and Colchester in particular?

In Colchester it is development. Colchester has grown too fast too quickly and villages such as my own are now at mercy of the developers who plan to make these so called ”infrastructure led” Garden Communities. I understand the need to develop and build to safe guard house prices for future generations and accommodate for population growth but, the fact of the matter remains that in Colchester better alternatives were offered time and time again but rejected by an out of touch, tired LibDem/Labour Council.

How are you going to communicate with your constituents?

My usual methods of striking up conversations with residents whenever I am out in the community are somewhat remiss due to the virus, which saddens me as I so love making connections with people. At the moment my main methods of communication are community messages via email and through my candidate page on Facebook page. If I were to be elected, I would use community spaces to hold public information sessions as I believe all levels of government should remain transparent to the electorate in good times and in bad! I don’t believe in being a “fair weather” politician because ultimately things will always be taken out of our hands but people deserve to know why.

What kind of jobs have you had in the past?

I love this question. I pride myself in not being your stereotypical Conservative. I do not come from wealth or privilege or any kind of background typically associated with our party but have always been made to feel welcome, valued and believed in. I have worked in various jobs since I was 15. I have worked cleaning chalets, on the Drive Thru at McDonalds and even did a stint on a burger van at my local market for a summer. However, my favourite job was working as a barmaid at one of my local pubs in the village where I am now standing as a candidate for the local elections, I did this whilst doing a full-time degree. In this role I really got to know the locals and some of the issues in the local area which has provided me with a solid foundation of local knowledge to effectively oppose the Labour and Lib Dem councillors. I have been in my current job at the University of Essex Students Union for three years specialising in Higher Education policy and Student Representation.

Who’s your role model/ political hero?

That’s easy, Ruth Davidson. I have a signed copy of her book “Yes She Can” and it is one of my most prized possessions. Ruth is my Hero because of the way in which she successfully transformed the face of Scottish Conservatism and turned them into a real force to be reckoned with against the SNP. Even Tony Blair recognised that the Scottish Tories under Ruth were the only credible opposition to the SNP at the time. Additionally, I think her progressive but still Conservative, at its very core, politics are the future of the Conservative party in the UK.

If you could have dinner with any three people, who would it be?

Easy peasy! Ruth Davidson, Gillian Anderson and Stevie Nicks.

What do you like to do in your spare time?

In my spare time I enjoy reading, cooking, going to the gym, going out for dinner and to the pub.

What is your current favourite Netflix show?

I am currently watching “Mindhunter” as I am a huge fan of true crime shows and documentaries.

If you went on Mastermind, what would your subject be?

Easy peasy again! Harry potter or Gavin and Stacey.

Conservative Young Women are dedicated to encouraging and supporting young women in the Conservative Party. We are on a mission to get more women into public office at every level and we provide support to anyone who wants to stand.

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