It’s all change for Green councillors this week as the 8-strong group introduces new faces at the helm for the next year. Longstanding group convenor Steve Burgess and co-convenor Melanie Main make way for Chas Booth and Mary Campbell as the new Green co-convenors.
Chas Booth has been Green councillor for Leith since 2012, campaigning in his early days for community ownership of Leith Waterworld and Duncan Place Resource Centre. A former active travel and energy specialist, he has championed cycling and public transport for the Greens over recent years.
Mary Campbell is one of the four new Green councillors in 2017 and has made a name for herself within the high profile education brief, challenging the council over controversia school closures and pushing for action on day to day costs for lower income young people. Within her Portobello-Craigmillar ward she is well-known as a community activist, including for Scotland’s first urban community buy-out at Bellfield.
Cllr Campbell said: “I am delighted to take up this new post and the new challenges it brings. I am even more delighted that the Greens are a party where we choose to do things very differently from other parties. For us, there’s a positive in having twin group leaders rather than a single post and for one pairing to hand over amicably to their successors.”
Cllr Booth said: “Mel and Steve have done a fantastic job over the last year and longer, leading for the group in discussions within a much more fluid council and making sure that the increased Green presence in the city chambers has resulted in real Green progress on areas like transport, housing and the city’s budget. I’m looking forward to building on that work and making the Greens the lead voice in the kind of radical change Edinburgh needs.”
Steve Burgess has been convenor and then co-convenor of the Green councillor group since 2010. He said:
‘I wholeheartedly support refreshing the Green convenors – it’s great that Mary and Chas are able to take on representing and co-ordinating the Green group of Edinburgh councillors within the council and with external partners. This will both bring new impetus to the Green group and allow Mel and I to focus more on driving forward improvements in our core areas of health and environmental sustainability.’
Cllr Main added: “It’s been a privilege to lead the new Green Councillors Group over the first year and watch the team grow, but I’m really now looking forward to being able to focus on Health and Social care, and my role in developing the Primary Care Strategic plan for Edinburgh.”
The changes will be formally put to the meeting of full council on Thursday 28 June.