I'm not a professional politician. I got involved because I got to know my local Liberal Democrat councillors and admired their dedication, hard work, and determination to get things done for our community. When one of them retired, just as I was leaving a demanding and politically restricted job in London, it seemed right to see if I could do the same.
As well as my duties on the council, I am a governor of my local primary school (responsible for Pupil Premium), trustee of both my local community centres and of an arts-based charity with a particular focus on young people, member of various committees and many other roles. I have worked closely with one of the best of the new generation of LibDem MPs, Layla Moran, helping her unseat an ineffective Tory in 2017.
I'm immensely proud of my family- my daughter is a medical student in London, and beginning to see the effects both of chronic under-funding and the staffing problems caused by the uncertainties around Brexit. My elder son has just left school and my younger son is doing GCSEs this year. My wife Kathy is a leading environmental scientist.
There are many vital issues in this election.
In government, Liberal Democrats introduced radical environmental policies, including the Green Deal, Green Investment Bank and investment in renewables, most of them binned by the Tories since 2015. We introduced the 5p plastic bag charge, a simple idea with a huge impact. We have an ambitious plan to invest in greening our economy and mitigating the effects of climate change.
On education, Liberal Democrats will reverse the catastrophic impact of Tory cuts on the funding in your children's schools. We introduced the Pupil Premium, targeting support directly at the most deserving children, and will extend it. We have an exciting plan for investing in lifelong learning, a recognition that the world of work is changing and the challenge of addressing low wages, skills shortages and the gig economy doesn't stop when you leave school.
A Liberal Democrat government will put a penny on the pound for health and social care, ring-fenced to start tackling structural issues like bed-blocking as well as vital front-line services. As your MP I will fight to keep local services in Leek Moorlands hospital, close to family and support networks for patients.
And, of course, there's Brexit.
Many people in our region voted Leave in 2016. They did so in good faith. But why hasn't it happened? Why hasn't the Tory government delivered what you were promised? Three Prime Ministers, two General Elections and countless deadlines later, they have failed to do what they said they would. Why? It's because the vision you were offered in 2016 has turned out the be an illusion.
My party has been absolutely clear: we are better off inside the EU, with the deal we already have. The European project was born out of hope, of a better Europe based on shared values, after the horrors of war and division. It has worked. We have enjoyed the longest period of peace and prosperity in European history. Our young people can travel and study, businesses can trade freely with our largest market, our NHS can draw on essential European staff, our supply of medicines is protected from giant US companies, farmers can export freely, and tourism in our beautiful region welcomes our many European visitors. Immigration is not an abstract bogeyman waved in your face by irresponsible rabble-rousers like Johnson and Farage. It's about people, people you know. This is our vision: inclusive, democratic, welcoming, open to the richness and diversity of our world.
As other parties lurch into extremism, failure, weak leadership and division, Liberal Democrats demand a better future for our NHS, our schools, our country, our shared European home and our planet. I know the people of Staffordshire Moorlands share that vision. I will be proud to live and work in this beautiful place as your MP.