Rhine mountain Carlo Clemens from Bergisch-Gladbach is applying as an AfD candidate for a seat in the state parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia in Düsseldorf.
Seven candidates from the Rheinisch-Bergischer Kreis II constituency are standing for a seat in the parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia in the May 15 elections. Our editorial team asked them about their political ambitions and goals.
Why do you want to enter the state parliament?
“I want to take more responsibility for my homeland. In particular, I would like to help shape the future of my family and my descendants,” says Clemens. Its political orientation is in the areas of municipal affairs, culture, construction and housing. In the state parliament, he wants to promote this through “critical and constructive parliamentary work, contemporary media treatment of initiatives, plenary speeches, surveys and candidacies and citizen-oriented constituency work”.
What do you want to achieve above all for the district?
Clemens wants to strengthen the place of business for small and medium-sized businesses and campaign for lower energy and fuel prices as well as tax and bureaucratic relief. This also includes the abolition of CO2-Taxation and compulsory affiliation of traders to the Chamber of Commerce and Industry. In addition, he wants to campaign for the maintenance of the educational system at several levels in order to strengthen work-study vocational training. It wants to revitalize the regional construction culture through typical regional architecture and more pleasant townscapes and landscapes.
What do you think of compulsory vaccination, have you been vaccinated or boosted?
“I reject general and facility-related vaccination requirements and am glad that the scare in the Bundestag has been stopped for the time being with the AfD votes,” Clemens says. Due to his young age, he was not vaccinated against Corona. “I support – if not already done – the definitive lifting of all corona restrictions, in particular the obligation to wear masks in schools, and a return to social normality and personal responsibility on the part of responsible citizens.”
How can the towns and municipalities in the district adapt even better to Ukrainian refugees?
“I express my full solidarity with the Ukrainian war refugees. Although the focus should be on accommodation close to home, RBK can also help,” says Clemens. Municipalities could prepare existing residential containers for unbureaucratic use. “Furthermore, failed asylum seekers, some of whom have been forced to leave the country for years, should be expelled from the RBK to free up financial resources and living space for genuine war refugees. If necessary, the state must transfer decision-making powers on the suspension of deportations from municipal authorities to central immigration authorities in order to prevent the phenomenon of abusive “chain tolerance”.
Which climate protection measures should be given priority in the municipalities of Bergisch over the next five years?
Clemens calls for reforestation in climate-resilient mixed forests with tree species suited to the location. This requires more funding to treat the damaged areas. “We need a tree planting and greening offensive and more local history in our schools to create knowledge about local flora and fauna,” the candidate said. For future severe weather events, preventive civil protection must be financially and organizationally expanded. According to Clemens, soil sealing and land consumption by the construction of traffic areas, parking lots, industrial and commercial areas, new residential buildings should be minimized and no longer allowed in endangered areas.
In which areas should the state mainly support the municipalities of Bergisch in the coming years?
“NRW is still the No. 1 traffic jam area. We have to deal with the major renovation backlog in the streets,” explains the AfD candidate. “Basically, local public transport needs to become more attractive through more frequent services, better transport options for bicycles or pushchairs and a more efficient network of routes so that citizens voluntarily switch from cars to buses and trains and that traffic congestion and exhaust emissions are reduced. I insist: voluntarily.” He rejects a policy of banning cars, because many people, especially in rural areas, depend on them. State impulses in this area should not be limited to electric mobility, which the average citizen cannot afford at the moment. Cycle paths also need to be improved and extended. “He also bases his hopes on an evolution of the professional world with many more opportunities for teleworking.
In your opinion, what has changed positively in the neighborhood after five years?
“My wish is that college diplomas and in particular the dual vocational training route will again become popular with students through a corresponding education policy,” says Clemens. “Local training companies, especially in the trades, should no longer have to complain about vacant training places in five years.” This means better conditions for interns, including pay, tickets, affordable housing, and flexible and modern work models.