Jessie Joe Jacobs has launched her bid to become the region’s next mayor, announcing that she will lead the Tees Valley boldly into the 21st century.
The Labour candidate to take on current Tory Tees mayor Ben Houchen set out her plans at Hartlepool College, where she shared her vision to ensure Teesside is a “modern and visionary region”, which has people at its heart.
As part of her plans, Jacobs said she would launch a £1m Tech for Good prize fund, as a catalyst for local tech companies to begin to pioneer solutions within growing markets in health, care and climate technology.
Stating it was a multi-billion market, that she wants Teesside to secure a bigger share of – and create thousands of good quality jobs for local people.
This, claimed Jacobs, would be complemented by vocational centres in every borough of the region, which would offer people a one stop shop for advice, skills and training to access the good jobs of the future.
“I am proud and privileged, to stand before you as Labour’s candidate for Tees Valley Metro mayor,” said Jacobs.
“I believe in this region. I believe in our people and I have a vision for genuine transformation of the whole of the Tees Valley.
“I want to share that vision, a bold and ambitious plan for a greater region. A vision, rooted in the hopes and dreams of our people. Of ALL our people.
“Historically, this region thrived because it had a vision and an ambition right for the moment it was in. And now we need a vision and ambition that is right for the moment we are in. This is the 2020’s not 1920’s. We have to move beyond the traditional.
“This place was built on radical creativity, on risk taking and innovation. We need to be the 21st century version of that. High skills, high tech, social tech, green jobs, jobs with purpose.
“We will be a forward-looking, ambitious leader in creating not just jobs for the future but innovation that helps tackle the big issues of our time, health inequalities and the climate crisis.
“We were once the place that built the world. We will now be the place that develops the tools to save it.”
Jacobs was born in Stockton and raised by her grandparents, small business owners whose trade was in carpets and markets.
At the age of 24 she began an organisation to support women and young people, supporting them out of poverty, where we she went on to win the Sunday Times Social Entrepreneur of the year award before moving on into leadership roles around policy and place regeneration.
Kicking off proceedings at Hartlepool College were Labour figures Andy Burnham, mayor of Greater Manchester and Liverpool mayor Steve Rotheram, who introduced the Tees Valley mayoral hopeful.
Burnham said: “Jessie is someone who is going to fight for the North and the North East. The voice of the North is louder than it’s ever been before.
“We’ve had a lot of promises out the government, but you have to think now, who is going to hold this government to account. Are you better having a fighter, who will stand up to the government, or someone who will ultimately two the government line.
“My message today is elect a fighter. Elect Jessie to get what we deserve from this government.”