After years of working with and supporting local communities, local councillor and campaigner Alex Hegenbarth is setting the pace to becoming our next MP.
EXPERIENCE: Worked as an archaeologist and historian before settling in Gloucestershire. Previously worked with English Heritage and Historic England, and with a variety of community groups across the region.
HOBBIES: Hiking, reading, watching American football, and recovering after nights looking after the baby!
Meet the man fighting to get a brighter future for our area…
ALEX, YOU’VE NEVER STOOD FOR PARLIAMENT BEFORE. WHAT’S MADE YOU TAKE ON THE CHALLENGE TO BECOME AN MP?
"When I talk to friends and neighbours here in Bishop’s Cleeve, again and again people tell me how worried they are about the future. Whether it’s the effects of Brexit, funding for our NHS or concerns about jobs or their children’s prospects, there’s a lot of uncertainty right now.
"As an MP I want to use my experience to make a positive difference and build a better future for our area."
WHAT IS IT LIKE BEING THE LIB DEM PARLIAMENTARY CANDIDATE FOR THE TEWKESBURY CONSTITUENCY?
"It’s been hard work but worthwhile. Helping members of the public who’ve come to my advice surgeries has taken up a lot of my time, but is incredibly rewarding when I’m able to help people.
“Working with rural communities to help protect and develop the services they need has been challenging, but it is vitally important that people have access to the services they need.
"But there is so much more I want to achieve for our area.
“Gloucestershire’s schools are losing out because the Government has cut their funding - and our county’s current MPs are failing to stand up to them. I want to see our teachers get the support they need to give our children the best possible start in life.
"The A&E department at Cheltenham General Hospital, a vital service used by so many residents in the constituency, is already under threat due to the cuts imposed by the Conservative government. I want to increase the NHS provisions we have in the county – not see them cut them back.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT LIVING IN THE AREA?
"I've lived in Gloucestershire for several years now - but from the day I moved here it’s felt like home to me. I love the fact that you are never too far from green and open space.
WHAT DO YOU THINK THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES ARE RIGHT NOW IN BRITAIN?
“I think it’s the division that exists in our society and in our politics – between rich and poor, north and south and of course leave and remain. Brexit has brought these divisions to the fore and threatens everyone’s future. I think we need to get both sides talking together rather than shouting at each other – there’s more that unites us than divides us."
YOU MENTION BREXIT, WHERE DO YOU STAND ON THE ISSUE?
"It’s becoming clearer by the day that the government has monumentally missed the mark on Brexit. No-one voted for us to leave without a deal - which is where the energy of Boris Johnson's government seems to be focused on. It is clear now that Brexit is going to leave Britain poorer, more isolated and less safe. Now we know what Brexit really means, people not politicians should have the final say on Brexit.
"I voted to keep Britain in Europe because I thought it was the best way to deliver more jobs, keep our nation secure and to tackle issues like climate change that don’t stop at borders.
"Three years on and I'm less convinced that Brexit is a good idea than ever before. I am wholeheartedly behind the Liberal Democrat campaign to stop Brexit."
WHAT ARE YOUR PRIORITIES FOR OUR AREA?
"Gloucestershire is a great county and can have a bright future - but we’re being held back. We’ve got thousands of people working in the public sector who have seen their incomes fall year after year. Our schools, NHS and transport links have been starved of investment. As an MP I will fight tooth and nail to get a better financial deal from Westminster for our area.
"I am also so frustrated that politicians in Westminster still don't give the climate emergency the priority it deserves. Businesses and the government need to be making real changes to reduce climate emissions to protect our planet and our future, and I am determined to do everything I can to be part of the solution to addressing the climate emergency."
AND FINALLY – FROM ARCHAEOLOGY WESTMINSTER, THIS IS QUITE A CHANGE FOR YOU! WHAT MAKES YOU THE RIGHT PERSON FOR THIS JOB?
"I think we need politicians who have been out in the real world and who aren’t afraid to challenge the broken politics we see in the news every day. I’m passionate about our area, the people that live here and the brighter future that everyone is looking for. I’ll work hard every day to demand better for Gloucestershire and better for Britain."