It is a great honour to be elected to serve our community in Parliament.
Before anything else, I want to begin by thanking you, the people of Lancaster and Fleetwood, for electing me last week.
Regardless of who you voted for, or indeed whether you voted at all, I will serve you and work diligently to stand up for your interests, reaching out to those who currently feel they lack a voice in Parliament.
I pay tribute to Eric Ollerenshaw, who served as our MP until last week.
It speaks volumes for his personal integrity that it was a clean campaign, fought on the issues we faced as a country and not on personalities.
I know that he will continue to play an active role in the campaigns he championed and he has my full support regarding his work around pancreatic cancer.
I wish Eric the very best in whatever he chooses to do next.
Also, thank you to the other candidates who stood, in both the parliamentary and local elections.
Congratulations to those who were elected to the council and commiserations to those who missed out.
Democracy only works when people put themselves, and their ideas, forward.
Locally, I’m in the process of setting up a constituency office and recruiting staff so I can offer support for those needing my help and deliver on the pledges I made during the campaign.
I have also been down to Westminster this week, although I don’t have an office just yet.
New MPs are desk-sharing in a shared space and we each have a locker for securing personal items, so please do bear with me whilst I get set up.
As well as this column I’ll be using social media as a way of keeping you up to date with what I’m doing, so if you’re on Facebook please ‘like’ my ‘Cat Smith’ page for short videos, photos and updates.
I look forward to working for you.