1) It is a two-horse race
At the start of the campaign, the bookmakers Ladbrokes made Stephen the favourite to win with the Conservative candidate right on our heels. Notably, Labour and the Greens are completely out of the contest so we need to pick up all the progressive second preferences.
There is a real chance that the Liberal Democrats can win this newly created role. It is going to take a lot of enthusiasm to outcampaign the spending of the Conservatives but let us prove that the experts are worth listening to.
2) Wealth of experience
The West of England has historically been a strong Liberal Democrat area. Bristol, South Gloucestershire, Bath and Northeast Somerset have the teams in place to hit the campaign trail. They are made up of a mixture of veteran councillors, knowledgeable members and grass root activists.
If you are new to the party or new to the area, we will be there to help. There are many action days coming up that we need extra volunteers for. You will be paired up with someone who knows the neighbourhood and we can also show you the ropes.
3) Metro Mayor is an influential role
The metro mayor will be responsible for transport, housing and skills an area that covers three councils, nine parliamentary constituencies and a population of over 1,000,000.
With a budget of £30 million per annum, the prospect of further deals bringing in more money and more devolved powers, this is an important role. If successful, Stephen would become one of most significant politicians in the country.
4) West of England is the ideal place for a weekend retreat
You are spoiled for choice of where you can help the campaign. Enjoy the beautiful countryside, the quaint villages or the hustle and bustle of our cities. Come and see for yourself why Bristol was voted the most liveable city of 2017 or soak up the culture in Bath.
What could be better a way of spending a weekend than exploring this corner of England? There are excellent transport links into Bristol and Bath. If you decide to help we will arrange for you to get to our starting point. Or if you prefer the comfort of your own home, you can still help out by making some phone calls.
5) Stephen Williams is a candidate to be proud of
After leaving office, Stephen Williams continued to be one of the hardest working and vocal Liberal Democrats in the West of England. Since the referendum, he has dedicated his time to making a positive case for Britain’s continued place in the EU and the Single Market.
The other candidates do not come close to match Stephen’s experience. Stephen has served as a councillor and as an MP in Bristol since 1993. In the Coalition, he was a minister for communities and local government, and campaigned against homophobic bullying and played a vital role in legalising same sex marriage.
Stephen was the reason behind my decision to vote Liberal Democrat for the first time. After the General Election in 2015, when I became a member, Stephen was one of those who strove to make myself and other new members feel welcome in the Bristol local party. Most importantly, though, it is his selfless characteristic of being a public servant which leads me to believe that he would be an excellent Metro Mayor to serve the region.
* Ryan Lailvaux is an active member of the Bristol Liberal Democrats