Kent County Council Leader Paul Carter visited Roseacre Junior School today (Tuesday) to talk to pupils about his job.
The 412 children at the school in The Landway, Bearsted, have been learning about democracy and local government.
Over the last few months the children have also enjoyed visits from borough and parish councillors.
Mr Carter spoke about his role as the school’s county councillor and his role as Leader.
“My job is to make sure that the whole of Kent, which is a big county, is a good place to live, work and be,” he told the children.
“I have to make some of the very big decisions about education, the roads, caring for the elderly and how to dispose of the rubbish that you put in your bins. These are important things that affect everyone who lives in Kent.
“I feel honoured and privileged to be Leader of Kent County Council. Making sure that we spend council tax money in the best possible way to get the best possible services for the people of Kent is a huge responsibility but I’m confident that I do the best job I possibly can.”
After a short talk, the children were invited to ask Paul Carter questions.
Ruby, in year three, asked “What is the hardest part of your job?”
Mr Carter replied: “The amount of responsibility and the huge workload that I have is hard. We strive to arrive at the right decision that is best for everyone in the county.
“I have to make sure that we spend the council tax money is the best possible way to get the best services for the people of Kent.
“But when money is short, sometimes we have to stop doing things and providing services if there is less money to go round. That’s a big challenge.”
Edward, also in year three asked: “What made you become a councillor?”
Mr Carter said: “I remember, when I was your age, my father used to sit at the table during Sunday lunch and moan about the prime minister and how the country was run.
“But he never actually got involved in politics. I just wanted to make Kent a better place and to try to do something about the things that were going wrong.
“I find it tremendously rewarding. And that’s something for all of you to think about; don’t just talk about things in life – if you want to make a difference, get up, get out and do things to make positive changes.”
Poppy, in year four asked: “What is the most interesting thing you have done in your job?”
Mr Carter replied “Every day is interesting. Every day gives me a new challenge. At the moment I’m spending an enormous amount of time making sure that the services we provide for older people are improved.
“I’m working closely with the health service to make sure you that when you get old you are looked after and really supported well.
“I strongly believe that there are some big, big changes needed in healthcare, especially for older people, and that we need to look at how we can spend the money we have more wisely.”
Peter, in year six, asked: “I see you are wearing a blue tie. Are you part of the Conservative Party?”
Paul replied: “Yes – I am part of the Conservative Group on Kent County Council, which is what we call the ‘majority’ party.
“We have elections coming up in May 2017 when all of the 84 County Councillors will have to persuade their constituents to vote for them again.
“I’ve now been Leader of KCC for 10 years and a County Councillor for 19 years.
“I find it so rewarding and I hope that I can carry on doing the job I’m doing and making a positive difference to everyone who lives and works in Kent.”