My name is Jessie Joe Jacobs. I am a Teessider, charity founder, campaigner, regeneration leader and I am proud to call the Tees Valley my home. We have incredible people, communities that have each other’s back, a proud history of industry that has transformed the world and a creative brilliance that is known throughout the UK, from music to media, technology to art. We have so much potential and opportunity, but now it’s time to move boldly into the future, with the backing, vision and courage we need to get there.
For too long we have been trapped in the past, left behind from underinvestment in public transport, public service cuts and a rolling back of people’s rights and powers. This has caused wide-scale poverty, lack of opportunity and deep-rooted inequalities which means your future is too often decided by the postcode you live in or the street you grew up in. We must tackle this head on, if we are to secure the future we need.
Having spent years delivering change at a local and national level, I know change is possible. I have developed projects, organisations and services that have lifted people out of poverty, improved health and well-being, created new businesses and reduced unemployment. I have travelled the globe investigating the key ingredients for places to thrive, from Athens to Bangladesh, Belfast to Brixton. I have met with those pioneering a better way and now I want to bring all that learning and all that experience to the Tees, to create a better future for all our people. To provide the leadership we need to become all that we have the potential to be.
I will ensure that this region is the best place to grow up, get on and grow old in. A place where all our young people have the opportunities to live a good life and where no one in our communities is left behind. I will bring the leadership we need to ensure a better future for all.
I take this responsibility seriously. I understand the absolutely monumental task of taking on the three biggest issues of all our lifetimes:
To rebuild after the devastating global pandemic.
To address the spiralling out of control inequalities, locally, nationally and internationally.
To stop the large scale irreversible damage caused by the climate crisis.
To be leading in this moment means I have the future of all of us and the planet on my shoulders but I am excited and ready for the challenge.
I have an ambitious plan to build a thriving economy from the bottom up: investing in local business and industries old and new to deliver jobs for decades to come.
This will take courage to change course, make the best of all our strengths and seize opportunities for everyone. This will mean taking on the same people in positions of power who stand in the way of change.
I will offer the unifying leadership it will need to get us there. I have achieved a lot in my lifetime, created and run schemes that created jobs and got thousands of people into work and training, started and led award-winning charities, led and created local, regional and national policy and campaigns. But my greatest ambition is to lead the Tees Valley and give our people the future they deserve. To give people hope.
And across everything I do, we will ensure no one is left behind, we protect the vulnerable and the planet.
The possibilities for this region have never been so clear. The opportunities are many and the responsibility for so many future generations now rests on our shoulders. The opportunity to bring about real, transformative change is too great, timing too crucial, possibilities too important and the need too great, to get this wrong.
To miss the moment would be unforgivable. The future of this region could be so different but it will take a real visionary and courageous leader to do that and to take us there. To try things that have never been done before.