The Liberal Democrats have announced their candidate for the next General Election.
Cllr Dave Naghi will contest the newly created constituency of Maidstone and Malling for his party in the election, which some pundits are predicting could be as early as May to coincide with local government elections.
Cllr Naghi has served on Maidstone Borough Council for more than 21 years and said he was “absolutely delighted” to have the chance to represent his home town in Parliament.
Boundary changes will be in effect for the first time at the next election, which will see the existing constituency of Maidstone and the Weald abolished.
Instead, Maidstone will be linked in with Ditton, Larkfield, East Malling and Kings Hill.
The sitting Maidstone and the Weald MP Helen Grant has already been selected by the Conservatives as their candidate to stand in the new Maidstone and Malling constituency, but Cllr Naghi believes the boundary changes will work in his favour by including some Malling areas that traditionally have been strong Lib Dem wards, and losing the Weald villages of Headcorn, Marden and Yalding that are usually strongly Conservative.
He said: “With the boundary changes, this is an exciting opportunity to galvanise the support we have across the new constituency and offer people a fresh alternative.
He served as Mayor of Maidstone between May 2018 and May 2019.
His parents moved to Maidstone when he was three. He grew up in the town, attending first St Francis and then North Borough Primary Schools, and then Vinters Boys School. He served a five-year apprenticeship with local builders, H.Goodsell and Son, before starting his own firm, the Associated Building Company, in 1977, which he still runs.
Previously married to Jane, he is now divorced with three adult children and lives in Mote Avenue.
He became involved in local politics because of his pre-existing involvement with the Howard De Walden centre, in Bluett Street, Maidstone, where he had started the Under-14s youth club.
He joined the Lib Dems when there was a move by the then Conservative council to close the centre.
He remains the centre’s manager today.
He is also a past chairman of the Maidstone Sea Cadets and a former trustee of the Cutbush and Corrall Almhouses in Maidstone.
He is also the chairman of the Maidstone branch of the Royal British Legion, but perhaps he is best known as the chairman of the volunteer committee of the Maidstone River Festival, which he revived for the town in 2019 after an absence of several years.
The annual event is one of Maidstone’s biggest and the only one to take advantage of the River Medway which runs through the town centre.
Cllr Naghi said: “I would love to hear from residents about their concerns and would also welcome offers of help with my campaign.”
He can be contacted by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org