Following annual internal elections, Bristol’s Green Councillor Group has a new leader, Heather Mack, and a new deputy leader, Lisa Stone, with Fi Hance staying on as the group’s whip.
Councillor Heather Mack, the Green Group’s deputy leader since May this year, is also the joint shadow cabinet lead for Finance, Performance and Governance and one of two new Green Councillors elected in Lockleaze. She is devoted to ensuring Lockleaze, and other traditionally left behind areas of Bristol, get the support they need and has recently been successful in acquiring funding for a new playground in the ward. Heather is an experienced environmental activist who was arrested in 2019 for protesting as part of Extinction Rebellion actions in London.
“I am thrilled to be elected to lead this group of incredible councillors. I have worked with and supported the group for many years, first as a campaigner and organiser and from May as deputy leader. The Greens are going from success to success and driving real change in Bristol, and I plan to support this team to achieve even greater things.
“Our group has a fantastic breadth of expertise, knowledge and life experience, and I can’t wait to use my role to showcase and promote our wonderful councillors and shadow cabinet members. I plan to hold the administration to account and demonstrate that when Greens are elected they fight for social and environmental justice across the city.
“I would like to thank Paula and Emma for the role they’ve played in building such a strong team.”
Councillor Lisa Stone is one of two newly elected Green councillors in Windmill Hill. She is a proud lesbian, a trained electrician (which she teaches as a trade at Bristol City College) and has spent a significant amount of time working overseas, including in Southeast Asia and East Africa.
“I am delighted to have been elected as the Green Group’s new deputy leader and cannot wait to work with our new leader Heather to get things done. As a city, Bristol needs to prioritise social and environmental justice and create a local environment that will not leave anybody behind. We need to work through the region to fund adult education and train our future nurses and electricians. We need to properly insulate all council homes, which will alleviate fuel poverty and tackle climate change. And we need to create a mass public transport network that works for the people of Bristol, one that is fair, reliable, and sustainable.
“I want to help build the best possible Bristol – whether that means working with other parties and the Labour administration or challenging them.”
Councillor Paula O’Rourke, who was elected leader after the local elections in May, said:
“I enjoyed the challenge of leading such an expanded Green Group for the important months following the May election, setting up a shadow cabinet to scrutinise policy and forming an effective opposition in Bristol. As the new Group leader, Heather has my full support and I’m sure she will continue to lead the group in a way that allows us to challenge the administration and drive change in Bristol.”
In May Bristol elected 24 Green councillors, making it the biggest Green group in the country, and the same size as the Council’s Labour group. In the first six months in opposition in Bristol, the Greens have campaigned to save local sports facilities threatened with closure by the Labour administration, opposed Bristol airport’s plans to double in size, worked with other parties to pass motions setting strong zero carbon standards for future homes and protecting green spaces in the city from development, and established a shadow cabinet to hold the administration to account. They recently proposed raising millions of pounds per year to fund sustainable transport improvements with a progressive tax on large businesses with employee parking.