COMMENT: Time to engage in Sheffield City Region elections
I must confess that I am relatively new to these parts, having landed in Sheffield a couple of weeks ago to cover local government as part of the Local Democracy Reporter Scheme.
The first thing I noticed is that you have elections coming up, and that Sheffield - along with Doncaster, Barnsley and Rotherham are about to become a city region.The second thing I noticed is the hostility towards the idea from certain parts of the region.And the third thing I noticed is that people in Sheffield don’t seem to care or, at the very least, seem disengaged with the whole idea.What we have here, in my humble opinion, is the opportunity to draw down hundreds of millions of pounds to invest in our city, our region and our communities.We have the opportunity for South Yorkshire to evolve and develop its own unique and united identity for a whole new age.We have the opportunity to really put the Sheffield City Region on the map - in ways that similar processes in Manchester and Liverpool have done, as well as breathing new life and massive opportunities into areas that were well in need of a boost.But we need to engage with this process - whether you are in favour of the Sheffield City Region, support the One Yorkshire bid, or simply do not see how this impacts on you.It does impact on you. It will impact on you, and I would urge you all to engage in this process; to listen to the candidates, see what they have to say, make an informed choice . . .And vote.In partnership with BBC Radio Sheffield, we will be hosting a mayoral debate on Wednesday, April 25. Why not come along and put your questions to Dan Jarvis, Ian Walker, Hannah Kitching, Mick Bower, Naveen Judah, David Allen and Rob Murphy.Email [email protected] if you’d like to attend. Seats are limited. If you can’t make it, full coverage of the debate will be available in The Star and on the BBC.It’s a hundred years this year since women won the right to vote. Please don’t waste yours.