With just over 100 days to go until Cannock Chase residents head to the voting polls, Conservative candidate for the region Amanda Milling has admitted that she is loving the challenge of keeping hold of the seat for the party.
Since becoming the Conservative Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for the area last year Milling has constantly being playing catch-up with other candidates.
“In all honestly it’s been all systems go since I arrived.” Amanda said. “I got selected in mid-July and relocated to move back home at the start of August. It’s been full on since then as if you look at other seats, candidates usually have two to three years to run their campaign.
"It is actually really exciting. It is a challenge. It means we have got to work really hard. But to be honest the more of that the more I like it. I’m looking forward to going out there to work hard to reach out for the electorate.”
You’ll notice in the above quote that Amanda mentions about moving ‘back home’. Since the announcement last year there have been some comments that she had simply been parachuted into the seat. As she explained though it couldn’t be further from the truth; “I was born in Staffordshire and it was like coming back home for me when I returned to the region.
“I have a lot of local links with my father being employed in industry around the area. Some say the phrase that I have been parachuted in but I do actually have really strong links here. Cannock Chase is a loving home for me as I live in Rugeley and wake up each morning to the site of the cooling towers from my house.”
Having had to play catch up over the last six months Amanda has made sure that she has been seen visually in the local area, with those who she has spoken to having made a lasting impression.
“The people have been wonderful.” The former market research worker said. “They have been very warm and welcomed me into their homes and I have had a lot of support since the summer. It has been important for me to be seen as people believe that they can connect with you, emphasise and build a relationship.
“Actually being part of the community and attending events is how you find out things. You can only find out certain things by knocking on doors, you can’t expect people to always come to you.”
Since the party somewhat surprisingly took the seat in 2010 there has been a great deal of attention on the region, in part to the actions of MP Aidan Burley. It was put to Amanda if this could well be the big stumbling block for anyone who was due to stand as a Conservative candidate for the Cannock Chase region in the next election process.
She said; “Personally I don’t think it is about Aidan. I am my own person and I will be running my campaign as how best I can do. I kind of very much want to look forward rather than looking backwards. I’d like to be a lot more positive, forward thinking and solution driven. Do you know what though? There are a lot of positive things which Aidan did here.”
With under four months to go until the voting booths open it remains to be seen if Amanda will be allowed to create her own legacy, something which only the people of Cannock Chase can decide.