Thursday, May 14, 2009
My election bid to help the disabled
A 79-YEAR-OLD disabled man who is angry at the closure of a resource centre plans to stand as an independent candidate in the county council elections.
Larry Cotton, of Kings Drive, Gravesend, is contesting a seat in the Gravesham East Electoral Division in the elections due to take place on June 4.
Mr Cotton, who is competing against eight others for two Kent County Council seats, has been confined to a wheelchair after he had a stroke three years ago which paralysed the left side of his body.
A former user of the Queen Elizabeth Resource Centre, in Brent Way, Dartford, he decided to stand after Kent County Council closed the centre in an overhaul of the way they provided adult social services.
The married father-of-five said: "I was very upset, along with a lot of other people, when the council decided to close the centre.
"When they closed it, they promised us that they would find alternative places for us to go, and they still haven't done enough.
"It was very important to me, and it was very valuable to a lot of people. If I get elected I can hopefully make a big difference to the lives of both the elderly and the disabled people in Gravesend, and I will fight to get a centre like this back."
Despite a year-long campaign by users of the centre, The QEF Centre closed in October last year. Protests included a rally at County Hall in Maidstone and Westminster and a 5,000-signature petition. Mr Cotton is the only independent candidate standing in Gravesham for the elections next month, which will also see a by-election in Painters Ash for a council seat made vacant after Peter Barbutti resigned last month. Mr Cotton added: "I could win, I guess you never know.
"I would really like to, I would campaign to make a big difference to the people that were affected by this closure."
For further details about the election, contact Gravesham Borough Council's election hotline on 01474 33 72 53, email to firstname.lastname@example.org or write to the Electoral Registration Officer, Gravesham Borough Council, Civic Centre, Windmill Street, Gravesend, Kent, DA12 1AU.
The deadline for registering to vote is next Tuesday.
Gravesend Reporter, 13th May 2009