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Dorothy Thornhill to run for Watford mayor for fourth term
Watford’s elected mayor, Dorothy Thornhill, has announced she is running for a fourth term at town hall while not ruling out the possibility of standing for MP in 2015.
The Liberal Democrat was selected on Thursday to stand next May to retain the mayoralty she has held since 2002.
However when asked if this ruled out her running in the General Election the year after, she said: "I am only focusing on 2014. I want to have a job supporting Watford. That’s my priority. 2015 is two years away."
The Lib Dems are yet to select their Parliamentary candidate for Watford. In 2010 the party came a close second to the current Conservative MP, Richard Harrington, who won by 1,425 votes.
Labour, which held the seat from 1997 until the last election, selected their Parliamentary candidate, Matt Turmaine, in February.
This week mayor Thornhill said she had decided to stand for a fourth mayoral term, after initially saying she would not in 2010, as her health had improved.
She said: "I am absolutely delighted to be able to continue to serve Watford. I still feel there is work to be done. I still feel I have the energy and enthusiasm to continue working.
"I had a health scare (in 2010) and I had to make sure I was fit and healthy before continuing.
"Actually there were other possibilities open to me but my heart is in Watford however corny that may sound."
In her 11-years in power mayor Thornhill said her administration had improved the council’s performance and was now focussed on the town’s future.
She added: "The most important thing we did was in the first five years and that was restoring people’s faith in the council. It was the worst run district in the country and that was a quote from the audit commission.
"People had lost faith in the previous Labour council. First it was about improving services, it is now about the bigger picture and the long term future of the town."
The mayor said her motivation for seeking four more years in the town’s top political office was the urge to oversee the fruition long-awaited project such as the Charter Place development and health campus.
"I want to see this through," she said. "There is a real impetus. I have been working hard for this and it is great to see it coming round the corner.
Newly released image of the proposed Charter Place.
"We have bucked the (economic) trend as we have made ourselves, and open to business council. For me it is about securing the long term future of the town. We cannot just leave things to chance. Other places are not having their town centre done. Stevenage isn’t, we are.
"One thing about being the incumbent is you can’t blag. My pitch will be ‘you know me as a person, you know what I have done."
Last week Labour selected Vicarage councillor Jagtar Singh Dhindsa to challenge the mayor in May. The former Labour group leader said he would cut the mayoral salary by 20 per cent if elected.
This week the mayor rebuffed that suggestion saying: "I value myself. I am prepared to take the salary the remuneration panel says. If I were still teaching I would be earning a lot more I earn now. For me, I don’t do this for the money."
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