Why I’m running for mayor

I’m Pete Lowe, and I’m standing to become the Labour Party candidate for the West Midlands Mayoral election in 2020.

I have dedicated my entire life to making people’s lives better – as a nurse, a union representative, Council Leader, father and friend. I am passionate about building strong and fair communities where everybody has a chance to prosper. I am committed to building a region where no individual, village, town or city is left behind. I am determined to defeat Andy Street and to become the first Labour Mayor of the West Midlands.

Born and brought up in the Black Country, I was privileged to come from a family with strong values who showed me how to treat people with fairness,consideration and respect. These values – Labour values – are in my DNA.

I joined the Labour Party in 1984 during the Miners’ Strike, seeing first-hand the damage Thatcher and the Tories were doing to our communities. Since then, I have campaigned in every local, general and European election, and have served our party at local, constituency, regional and national levels. Together with my sisters and brothers in the Labour Party, I continue to campaign to make people’s lives better.

In 1989 I became a nurse, and over the next 10 years worked in a number of hospitals as a Staff Nurse and a Charge Nurse. I am proud to have been on the front-line, looking after the sick and vulnerable. Together with our fantastic staff in our National Health Service, I cared to make people’s lives better.

I joined the union on my first working day and was active immediately. As a steward, departmental rep, branch officer and branch secretary, I helped build my union. I developed the branch so we were able to lead one of the longest strikes in NHS history against the government’s plans to implement PFI in Dudley. We were successful in helping negotiate the ‘protection of employment model’, which to this day protects workers against the threat of PFI. We stood in solidarity with other trade disputes at the time, such as with the dockers and the firefighters, as we recognised an injury to one is an injury to all. I did this as I know we need solidarity to make people’s lives better.

In 2003 I became a Councillor for my home ward. Previously a Tory-held ward, I initially won by just 54 votes. Last year I won by over 600 in what is now one of our safest Labour seats in Dudley. I am accountable, available and visible in my community every day as I know how important it is to give people confidence and to take action to make people’s lives better.

In 2014 I became Leader of Dudley Council, and worked with my colleagues to ensure we had a Cabinet that represented and reflected the community we serve. Through training, development and political leadership I am proud that my Cabinet was gender-balanced, and had a high level of representation from our BAME and LGBT+ colleagues and members with disabilities. It is essential to build equality to make people’s lives better.

In 2016 I became Vice-Chair of the West Midlands Combined Authority and worked with the TUC to ensure workers were represented at the highest level. We remain the only devolved authority that has trade union representation at board level. I did this because I know the importance of workers’ representatives to make people’s lives better.

It is imperative that we elect a Labour Mayor in 2020, committed to the team approach advocated by Jeremy Corbyn. We are at our strongest when we are united across the Labour movement. Although the Mayor is an individual, I am committed to this team approach, where everybody contributes andfeels valued. We need unity to make people’s lives better.

I hope you will support my open, inclusive, radical campaign for our region.