I love Bristol. I was born and bred here and can’t imagine living anywhere else.
I have been away, studying first in Swansea and later in Yale, but every time my heart brings me home.
I was brought up in St Pauls, Lawrence Weston and Easton by my mum; I now live in Easton with my wife, Kirsten and my three kids Caleb (7), Levi (5) and Eden (ten months).
I’m standing for mayor because I want them – I want all kids in Bristol – to be able to afford to live here when they grow up. I want to build a better Bristol for them, for everybody.
And I’m standing for mayor because I believe in Bristolians. I believe they have a right to decide how our city is run. Too many people feel excluded from the political process, feel they have no say in Bristol’s future.
This is not just a legacy of decisions to impose residents’ parking zones without asking residents or a 20mph speed limit without asking motorists, but because there is a feeling that the mayor is not listening.
I shall change that. I have already started listening. The #TellMarvin hashtag on Twitter last week trended in Bristol as I asked people to tell me one thing they loved about Bristol and one thing they would change.
The one thing most people loved was Bristol’s diversity. Me too. We’re lucky to live in such a vibrant and multicultural city.
What people wanted to change was less clear-cut. Opinion was pretty much split between housing and transport. People said they were fed up with traffic gridlock holding them up, whether they travelled by car or by bus.
These two issues will be top of my priority list as mayor. The rest of the list is being drawn up at the moment because we are continuing the listening process by listening to members of the public, listening to Labour Party members and listening councillors to decide the best policies for Bristol.
Having been involved in early discussions, expect policy announcements soon on the environment, health, education, youth services, older people and, of course, the economy.
As mayor, I will work tirelessly with councillors to deliver the policies Bristolians want, but I don’t think cities are run from the council chamber.
I will open a city office for businesses, trade unions and voluntary organisations to have a say in how the city is run.
I’m standing for mayor because I want to make Bristol a more equal city, a fairer city in which individuals, families and communities can flourish irrespective of their background.
I hope you can join me in our journey to build a better Bristol.