One local councillor is celebrating twenty years of continuous service on Tamworth Borough Council
Cllr Jeremy Oates was first elected on 4 May 2000, and he is still just as enthused about serving Tamworth as he was when he first got elected as a fresh faced 23 year old
Cllr Oates, who has held roles including Leader of the Council and Mayor of Tamworth, said: “I can’t believe it’s been twenty years since that first election - and I remember it like it was yesterday
“The local election in 2000 included two by-elections and was expected to return a similar result the to previous ones in the later 1990s - the Tories didn’t have much hope - and locally the Tamworth Conservatives Association had selected 10 candidates when nominations opened.
“A chance conversation with Alderman Ron Cook, who was then the leader of the Conservative council group, resulted in me becoming a candidate in the Belgrave ward where i’d grown up.
“Belgrave was not a target seat so campaigning was limited, but I produced a leaflet with my father which was printed in black and white on a photocopier and off we went knocking doors.”
On the steps to the count on election night, Jeremy was told by his father Cllr Michael Oates “Don’t get your hopes up you can get a better seat next time”. A few hours later the result was announced - Jeremy had won a seat on the council along with 10 other conservatives.
Jeremy remembers the moment: “ I turned to my father and asked ‘what happens now’ and he replied ‘I don’t know son I’ve never got this far!’”
Since then Cllr Jeremy Oates has held many positions on Tamworth Borough council and is one of the few who have experience in both opposition and control of the councils. Whilst in opposition Cllr Oates quickly built relationships across the chamber and got involved in corporate projects in a scrutiny role.
It was in control of the council that Cllr Oates really started to deliver with his involvement in many projects and changes of Tamworth Borough Council playing an instrumental role in setting budgets and seeing huge investment in Tamworth as a place to live work and relax.
Cllr Oates’ current term on Tamworth Borough council is 2019-2023.