I became involved in local politics in Solihull because I wanted to make a difference to my local area.
Now I want to be the West Midlands Mayor so I can make a difference to the whole region.
Thank you for reading this and taking the time to find out a bit more about me. Let me tell you a little bit about my background and my journey into politics.
When I joined the Green Party in 2015 I had intended to pay my subs, volunteer my time when I could and generally feel good about making a small difference in my local area. I’d started working at JLR in Solihull in 2013 after seven years at Airbus, and I moved up from Bristol not long afterward as I’d realised I would be here for some time. I chose the Green Party as I could see they were the only mainstream political movement that truly grasped that concern for the environment had to be axiomatic in all policymaking, and that the ability to make the systemic changes we need would be achieved through electoral success.
But as I saw and understood more of what was going on around me, I realised I couldn’t be satisfied with just doing a little bit here and there. The effects of years of Austerity were being felt throughout the Midlands, with life expectancies diverging wildly between the most and least well-off and services being pared back to the bone, so I brought my work as a Programme Manager to an end and put my hand up to stand for election as a local councillor for Solihull Green Party.
I was elected by the residents of Castle Bromwich in North Solihull in May 2019, with a resounding 66% of votes cast, and in April 2020 I took over as the Group’s Leader on Solihull Council. The Green Party has been gaining ground in Solihull since 2008 when we won our first seat; today we have 14 councillors and are the main Opposition to the Conservatives. We are the voice of the voiceless in Solihull – our work in holding the Administration to account is crucial and we regularly achieve concessions and make progress that other parties could not. It was our pressure over many months that led the Conservatives to finally table a Climate Emergency motion in October 2019, ten months after we originally did the same. It’s our relentless focus on living conditions and service availability for the least fortunate that makes things happen here.
How do I lead? By nature I’m a consensus-former. I believe leaders should be first among equals who set the direction of travel, not managers dishing out instructions, and I believe decisions should always be taken on the best available evidence and not be driven by assumptions or ideology. I am by training a project and programme manager with a specialism in Manufacturing IT systems, so I’ve had experience in working with people from the boardroom to the shop-floor. I’ve also worked in retail, construction, customer services and hospitality, so I know what it takes to be successful in business and the pressures that small and medium enterprises face in the current climate.
I’m the polar opposite of a career politician; I’ve had a career, I’ve faced adversity – including debt and homelessness issues – and I’ve come out the other side wiser for it. I know what it’s like to be down on my luck, and I know even the strongest of us need help sometimes to get back on our feet. This is why I believe I’m the best choice to be Mayor of the West Midlands – I have the real-world experience to know how decisions can affect people, and I understand the challenges people face, but I also have the political experience and know-how to get things done.
On May 6th I hope you’ll agree, and give me your first vote to be your Mayor.