In 1995 I was elected to Birmingham city council representing the inner city ward in which I lived. It was a humbling expuerience with so many people coming out in all weather to support me. I worked hard during my campaign and after my election I held regular advice surgeries and made sure i was available to my constituents. Many would come to my home on their own and sometimes whole families to share food and conversation. I loved the role and being a leader of my community. I was proud and humbled and very grateful for the opportunity I had been given.
I was given the further opportunity to lead council committees in my third year on the council becoming the chairperson of a number of housing and regeneration committees. Again I worked hard and tried to make a difference, to have a possitive impact on my ward and now the wider community in the city.
I was elected for a second term in what proved to be a very tough campaign, my loyal supporters again worked hard for me and some wept when I was reelected as they cheered and embraced me. It was a great feeling and I went on to secure a possition on the first cabinet under the governments local government reforms. I secured the portfolio for housing an area I did and do feel passionately about.
During this time I felt less engaged with my ward and constituents as I became hooked on strategy and policy. The same people who wept at my election would be avoided as I found I had little time for the mundane advice surgeries.
Looking back I see why I was not elected for a third term, I honestly believe my supporters saw I had had enough and preferred to remember the energetic motivated man who always had time to stop and chat.
Who was grateful for the opportunity he had been given by these wonderful people. It is good to keep a perspective and control ones ego, I feel I let down some of the most influential people in my life at that time. I also missed some of the Important occasions in my children's lives. Choosing to build a career in what is an impermanent role. You can't change the past what is done is done. However I hope that I learn from my experience and make adjustments accordingly.