Medway Labour has elected Vince Maple unanimously as its new group leader.
Cllr Maple, who at 34 is the youngest Labour Group Leader in the south east, takes over from Paul Godwin who has stepped down after 13 years in the role.
Cllr Maple said: "It is a great honour to have been elected by my colleagues to the post of group leader. It will be a difficult act to follow Paul's leadership for the last 13 years.
“I will continue to hold the administration to account and stand up for all residents of Medway. Politics has got a bad reputation in recent years, so I want to rebuild people's trust over time.
"I want to make sure people feel their voice is being heard, because I know not listening is a complaint I hear repeatedly about the current Tory administration. The Labour team want to work with people across Medway to make it an even better place to work, learn and live."
Prior to focusing on local government service, Vince was a trade union officer for the GMB union, previously working as a civil servant in the Department of Work & Pensions and the Home Office.
He has served as Labour spokesperson on the council’s children’s services and finance committees and has been deputy leader of the group for the last year.
Vince was former Labour MP Jonathan Shaw's election agent in the 2005 and 2010 general elections and was recently elected to the South East Region Board of the Labour Party.
Vince has spearheaded the End Legal Loan Sharks campaign in Medway and also worked with families and communities to successfully defend primary schools in Rochester and Chatham from the threat of closure.
Vince has lived in Chatham for most of life, moving here as a child when his Dad was in the Royal Navy. Vince attended Luton Infant and Junior Schools and the Howard School. He currently lives with his partner Mary in Chatham Central ward, which he has represented since 2007.
Cllr Paul Godwin, who remains as a Chatham Central ward councillor, said: "My sincere congratulations to Cllr Vince Maple on being elected as the new Labour Group leader. From my experience of working with Vince I know that he will do a great job in taking us forward in the future and he has my full support”
Labour's new deputy leader is Cllr Teresa Murray who was also elected unanimously to the post.
She said: "I’ll be very pleased to support Vince in his new role; he has proved himself to be a great champion for the people of Medway and represents them with energy and enthusiasm.
“Paul Godwin’s leadership has served us well and we will continue to have the benefit of his extensive knowledge of local government in the Labour Group.”
Teresa Murray, who lives in Rochester, has been a councillor on Medway Council since 2000.
She was the Labour parliamentary candidate in the 2010 general election for Rochester and Strood.
She currently works in further education as head of faculty for public and retail services at Midkent College.
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