Ther former vice-chair of the Bedfordshire Police Authority is Labour’s choice for mayor of Bedford Borough in the 2015 elections.
Penny Fletcher, 45, has a long history of serving as a member of the authority, the former body that looked after policing services.
The new candidate was revealed at a hustings on Saturday where party members had the chance to question her.
Penny said: “I feel it’s a huge privilege and an honour, I also feel it is my responsibility to run a good campaign so that people in Bedford Borough know what we are, what we deliver and what we can be for the town and the surrounding villages.”
Penny lives with her husband and four children at Milton Road in Bedford.
During her time as an independent member on the police authority Penny served as the vice-chair for five years and chaired a number of committees.
And before her work with the authority she worked as a housing officer for a borough in London and then a housing association in Bedford.
Penny added: “I think it is more of an advantage than a disadvantage that I haven’t served on the local authority.
“I believe that with all my various roles with the police and as a housing officer I understand how local councils work very well. I think I can bring a completely different set of skills to the table.”
Penny described herself as a friendly, outgoing person who is passionate about the borough.
She and husband Peter only intended to move to Bedford for two years, but they fell in love with the town.
She said: “We just wanted to get out of London, and Peter had lived here previously. We only planned to stay for two years and 16 years later we’re still here with four children.
“One of the things I love about Bedford is the fantastic sense of community. If I look back over the years I have lost count of the number of prams, purses, etc I have lost. And I have had them all returned to me, which is amazing.”
But she feels Bedford has lost its way in recent years with the long-awaited plan to improve the town centre and bus station.
If she is elected as mayor this will be one of her priorities, along with improving road infrastructure and encouraging new businesses to give both young and older people more job opportunities.
She said: “I think Bedford Borough is ready for a change.”