Lesley Mansell is standing for Metro Mayor to make a difference.
An experienced negotiator, the NHS manager believes she has the qualities required to bring together the leaders of Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol and South Gloucestershire, uniting them in a common aim.
"My vision is to ensure everyone in the West of England can share equally in our region’s success,” she says.
“The Metro Mayor is a new role and a chance to change the way things are done. I will put people first, working hard to get the best out of the three local authorities so devolution works for the many, not the few.
“This election presents an opportunity for us to tackle the inequalities of our housing market, the insecurity of our jobs market and to end the frustrations of our journeys across Bristol.”
Lesley, who lives in Radstock and works at Southmead Hospital, says her first priority is to address the region’s housing problems.
“After the election I will meet with the three leaders of the local authorities and talk to them about their housing plans, where they plan to build, when they plan to build and how many they plan to build,” she says.
“I want to see more social and affordable housing being built, focusing on the areas of greatest need.
“Getting homes built is essential for the region’s economy and, with better planning and contracts, new housing developments will also deliver apprenticeships and employment.
“We have already seen in Bristol what can be done when there is the will to build houses. I will work closely with Marvin Rees to replicate Labour’s success across the rest of the region.”
Sorting out the region’s transport problems is another issue close to Lesley’s heart.
“It can take me two hours to drive the 24 miles to work,” she says, “so I have first hand experience of Bristol’s gridlock.
‘Too many of our roads, buses and trains are over-crowded, with congestion damaging our local economy and air quality so I will take the lead on transport to find green solutions so people can get to work and get around better.”
One solution to rush hour congestion is, Lesley believes, to encourage employers to allow staff to work from home more often.
“To help them with this, I will push for improved broadband in all areas,” she says. “Imagine the difference to our congestion and air quality if commuters stayed at home one day a week.”
As an equalities manager and trade unionist, Lesley will put equality at the heart of all she does, making sure everyone can benefit from the West of England’s relative prosperity.
“The West of England needs a Labour Metro Mayor to champion the fight against the region’s inequalities,” she says.