Elected Mayor of Copeland
We caught up with Mike Starkie, Copelands first directly elected mayor several months into his role.
1. When did you move to Whitehaven?
I was born in Whitehaven, raised in Egremont and currently live in St Bees.
2. Why did you run for elected mayor?
I was and am a supporter of the Elected Mayor model, I further believed the area would be best served by putting party politics to one side and having an independent free of political constraints, in the absence of anyone else putting themselves forward for the role as an independent candidate, I decided to do it myself as I am passionate about Copeland and it achieving its potential.
3. What do you enjoy the most about your job?
I am enjoying all the variation and taking on the various challenges the role presents.
4. What do you enjoy doing at the weekend?
Since taking on the role of Mayor not a lot, I am a keen follower of Football and will also usually attend home games at Egremont Rugby League, I also like to socialise a typical weekend I will with my wife usually be in Whitehaven in the pubs and restaurants and on a Sunday afternoon in Egremont Rangers Sunday Club with long standing friends.
5. Do you have any hobbies or past times?
I was for many years involved in local youth football, including coaching the Copeland schools representative team, I had some great kids in my teams who are all now young men in their early 20's many of who I often see when I m out about.
6. When you were younger what did you want to be when you were older?
I always wanted to be a footballer.
7. How do you think Whitehaven can get through the current tough economic times?
The local economy is among the fastest growing in the Country, there is large inward investment on the way and Copeland's best days are ahead.
8. Where do you see yourself in 10 years time?
Hopefully still here, still healthy and still happy
9. Tell us about your funniest working memory.
I spent my early working years in construction, there were many funny moments but not one's I better put in print.
A day in the life of...
1. Tell us a little about your position and what you do on a day-to-day basis?
There are no two days the same in this job, the scope of the work is wide and varied which is what makes the job so interesting, it’s fair to say there is more to do than I had had probably anticipated. Typically I will meet with members, officers, strategic partners and members of the public, I am also a Board member for both Britain’s Energy Coast and the Local Enterprise Partnership and sit on the Cumbria Leaders Board.
2. Who do you work closely with on a day to day basis to ensure your role is successful?
In 25 years in business possibly the greatest lesson i have learned is the most important thing in determining success is the people you surround yourself with, to that end my appointment of Mike Graham as my political adviser was a crucial decision and it is already evident to me to be as good a decision as I will ever make, I also work very closely with my PA Lesley Taylor who is first class and makes sure I’m where I am meant to be when I am meant to be which is no easy task, I also have a team of first class officers who have helped me settle into the role and will play a pivotal part in taking the council forward. I am also delighted to have put together a cross party executive made up of Labour Leader Lena Hogg, Tory Leader David Moore and Labour Councillor Dave Banks, importantly we all have a common aim of making Copeland a better place and crucially for me I have complete trust in all three of them.
3. What do you like most about your job?
In all honesty I am enjoying all aspects of the job, it takes my down many interesting roads I would not have travelled, I would say the engagement with people from all walks of life is the most rewarding
4. What do you like least about your job?
As I have already said I’m enjoying all aspects of the job, I guess the most frustrating thing is not being able to make things happen as quickly as I would like but I’m working on that
5. Reflect back from Day One to now. How have you evolved in your current job? How have you maybe evolved as a person?
Have always had an interest in politics and I’m passionate about this area and this coupled with the type of work and life experience I have already gained I think prepared me well for the role of Elected Mayor, but yes you continually learn from all the experiences life throw's your way.