28/03/2017 09:05 BST | Updated 29/03/2018 06:12 BST

#WMelects17 - Young People Meet Green Party Candidate For West Midlands Mayor, James Burn

Here in the West Midlands, we are about to embark on an election to vote our very first metropolitan mayor.

Since it's costing us £4m, we thought we better ensure youth issues are represented in the debate by doing something about it ourselves, starting our own campaign which is organised by young people for young people.

We are calling it #WMelects17 and you can learn more about it on the Civify website, which is a young volunteer-led digital democracy project, but we will be covering each interview in a Young Voices blog on every candidate throughout the campaign.


We start with James Burn of The Green Party, a Solihull Council Councillor and social worker vying to create a shock in the region.

Currently, the only elected Green Party members you'll find in the whole of the West Midlands would be in Jame's native Solihull - but he'll be hoping more of the region would be considering turning Green rather than their historically usual red.

He'll know he has a fight on his hands considering voter percentage for the Greens was 5.3% in 2016 local elections, taking into account the whole West Midlands Combined Authority Area.

James was interviewed by Connor Hill a young social activist and Civify volunteer who at 17 will not be old enough to vote in the West Midlands Mayoral election, an issue he disagrees with but this highlights the importance of young people holding decision makers accountable and how young people can still be involved in the debate.

Connor asked a number of questions compiled by the volunteers and young people on Twitter, covering a range of issues from funding cuts, teaching politics in schools to youth unemployment.

Questioned on how he'd ensure youth issues on represented James highlighted that currently near to zero youth representation in regards to the West Midlands board and it does not look "anything like the people it is supposed to represent."

He stated he'd support teaching politics and young people should be more educated on the issues they would be potentially voting for so they can understand the massive powers politicians have been entrusted with.

On devolution, he talked about further regional development but concentrating on what our heritage has been successful on in the past which has installed a learning that other areas of the UK do not have to encourage collaboration, not competition.

High-value jobs are massive issues for young people in the area, James made a point of in a region where a lot of people come to study most of them leave and why is that considering that does not happen as much in other parts of the country.


These are just a few of the issues raised from the full interview with James Burn of The Green Party, you can watch the full interview here.

Every week until the election we will be releasing a video interview with each candidate until Thursday 4th May.

If you are a young person from the West Midlands you can have your say on Twitter using the #Wmelects17 hashtag.