Marvin Rees stands a chance of making history politically by becoming the first elected Mayor of Bristol on 15th November 2012.
If he wins, Mr. Rees, who is the Labour Party’s candidate, will become the first directly elected Mayor of African Caribbean descent in the whole of Europe.
“Symbolically this clearly would be monumental. But Rees is much more than just a positive symbol. His grand plan for the city he loves would energize local business, attracting investors, facilitating entrepreneurs, and nurturing creative minds,” wrote Simon Woolley, Director of Operation Black Vote (OBV). “Whilst Marvin knows that supporting economic growth in Bristol is crucial, he is a passionate believer that growth works best when you have a strong moral compass and a passion for equality. Here Rees stands tall and resolute.”
Mr. Rees, 40, has a very clear plan of action to govern Bristol and make it a modern, democratic and family friendly place.
“From day one I will set about creating an integrated transport authority,” Mr. Rees said. He has called for a joint plan with neighbouring authorities and promised to go to London to “lobby” for more finance.
Mr. Rees promised to re-engage people with politics in Bristol after the low turnout in the Mayoral Referendum. He added that it was his responsibility as a Mayor to “draw everyone around the table” and push forward as a city.
Mr. Rees has declared his desire for Bristol to become a “living wage city”. He promised that he would “set an example in the public sector and set an expectation in the private sector” for a more reasonable wage than the national minimum wage.
Mr. Rees has called the right to engage in union activity a “fundamental right”. He said he would support all council employees engaging with unions and called for “democracy in the economy” through the unions – which backed him in his bid for the Labour nomination.
Mr. Rees has been the Director of the Bristol Partnership, a BBC Broadcast Journalist, Executive Assistant to President Clinton’s Spiritual Adviser and has worked with a major UK International Relief and Development Agency.
He has a strong academic background, with two politics-related master’s degrees gained in the UK and US.
Mr. Rees is dedicated to “better representation of ethnic minority groups” in the City Council and has served as NHS Programme Manager for Delivering Race Equality in Mental Healthcare for Bristol, South Gloucestershire and North Somerset.
Mr. Rees and his younger sister were brought up in Bristol by their mother. They moved between St Pauls, a refuge in Devon, and the Long Cross Estate in Lawrence Weston before being finally given a house in Easton. He attended Easton Rd Primary and St George Secondary schools (now The City Academy). He is married, has two children and continues to live in Easton.
Mr. Rees is committed to tackling the personal and social barriers that stop people from backgrounds like his reaching their full potential. His belief is that this not only benefits those particular individuals but also benefits wider society as it realises the abilities and contributions that are routinely lost.
Mr. Rees is currently working with a small group including the University of Bristol and the University of the West of England to launch a Bristol Leadership Programme.
“Bristol should be sitting firmly on the world stage, and every one of us living here has a role to play in making sure our city lives up to its promise,” Mr. Rees said.