Mayor of Liverpool
Joe was born in 1958, the son of a merchant seaman and an office cleaner. One of six children, he attended St Vincent Primary School, where today he serves as a school governor, and St Martins Secondary School. He left school at 16, and joined the Merchant Navy and later P&O Ferries, spending 12 years at sea. At 20 he was a steward of the National Union of Seamen and became the youngest ever convener. He led the first ever sit in on a ship – the Ulster Queen – over the threat of redundancies. It lasted for about a fortnight and was successful in saving the threatened jobs.
His subsequent career brought Joe back to Liverpool, where he studied for a degree in social work at Liverpool John Moores University, and then went on to become a social worker for Sefton Council in 1992.
Joe was elected to Liverpool City Council for the Abercomby ward (now Riverside) in Liverpool in 1998. He became Leader of the Labour Group on the council three years later, and following the 2010 election, became Leader of the Council. In May 2012, Joe stood as the Labour Party candidate in the first-ever direct elections for the citywide Mayor of Liverpool. He won on the first ballot with a majority of 50,000 votes, securing almost 60 per cent of all votes cast.
Developing the city’s economy and creating new jobs, new schools and new homes are Joe’s priorities for Liverpool. Major regeneration projects such as the Cruise Liner Terminal, Edge Lane and Speke retail and leisure developments, two new hospitals and the growth of the science and knowledge sector will create thousands of new jobs.
He ardently believes Liverpool’s best days lie ahead as a leading world-class city.