With this year's local election campaign nearing its closing stages, it's time for all of us to work to ensure a strong voice for co-operation in local government Joe Fortune General Secretary 27th March 2017 We are entering the final weeks of local and Metro Mayors elections across the country. The Co-operative Party will be fielding over two hundred, including four of the five metro mayoral candidates, Labour and Co-operative candidates. They are among the many others being supported by their local parties. It’s a great effort from candidates and local Co-operative Parties that our candidates now span north to south, east to west. Whilst, of course, the hardest yards are yet to be covered the Co-operative Party’s new organisers deserve great credit for the enthusiasm and zeal they have brought to their task. We place great importance on the work of Co-operative Party Councillors and have been delivering campaigns, training, conferences and events all for this group of dedicated and hard-working local representatives. Looking back over the last few months, it has been fantastic to see Labour & Co-operative Councillors pressing the case for issues like fairtax standards within local authority procurement. Co-operative Councillors have supported the creation of not for profit bus services in their area and in Scotland have been the driving force behind the People’s Bus Campaign. In Wales, new Co-operative Housing campaigns are being delivered. In many of the new devolved regions there will be an ability to vote Labour and Co-operative this May. We believe that power must not be rooted in Town Halls, rather it should pass to the communities who live around them. It is this principle which has led the Party to be such staunch advocates of community wealth models such as the ones in Cleveland Ohio and Preston. This view was behind the new policy platform the Party published titled: ‘By us for us’ – this document focussed on areas with newly devolved powers but holds ideas for authorities everywhere. Over the coming weeks, we will be out on the doorstep, providing the co-operative message and organising for our Co-operative candidates. The work of Co-operative Councillors has been an inspiration to us and with addition of, hopefully, many more fantastic campaigners and activists, along with new Metro Mayors, it is clear, that co-operation is alive and well on the front line of politics.