Graham was born in Southsea, went to school in Somerstown and has lived in Portsmouth, and the local area, all his life. His two children are grown up, as are his two step-daughters, and now he’s a grandparent to their children. He and his wife are also foster parents to a young teenager.
He’s worked in a variety of roles, but for the last twenty years or so has been involved in the manufacturing industry, with companies such as Astrium and Marconi, principally specialising in quality control. He currently works for an aerospace company.
In the past, Graham spent many years in the licensing trade doing bar work, including several years as a bar manager, and understands only too well the impact of split shifts and low pay. He knows that many people are struggling on incomes that do not cover their needs, but are trapped in jobs whose timetables make it impossible for them to work for regular hours and earn more.
As a regular user of public transport he not only understands, but has also experienced firsthand the frustrations many people in Portsmouth have to face every day using both the city’s services and those off the island.
‘With the recent hike in rail fares you’d expect the service to improve, but it’s just getting worse. Cancellations and overcrowding at peak times seem to be a regular feature and with different companies running our bus services there’s a real lack of joined-up thinking on issues such as pensioners’ passes. This has got to change. A Labour council would introduce an integrated city transport infrastructure to improve services for residents.’ – Graham Mitchell
Though he may not drive himself, he freely acknowledges the ever increasing problem of parking in Hilsea and the rest of the city. Graham says:
‘As a Portsmouth resident I recognise, and regularly witness, tired and frustrated drivers circling the roads in the evening desperate for somewhere to park after a day at work. The problem, in some areas of the ward, has even started to begin in the afternoon. Anyone returning home from a particularly late evening will find it almost impossible not to park a very long way from way they live. A Labour council would commission an independent review of parking issues across the city.’
Graham has also seen the growth of Houses in Multiple Occupancy (HMOs) in Hilsea. ‘I recognise that a large number of these in any one area can cause problems, particularly for other residents. I want to see a reduction in their spread in the ward, and across the city, and want to find ways to make this possible. I believe there are certain planning regulations that should enable the council to restrict their growth, and policies that a Labour council would introduce to reinforce this.’
‘I want to speak up for the people of Hilsea and believe my own experience as a union workplace representative has equipped me with the skills to be able to do this. I want a fair deal for Hilsea residents and their families and as an elected councillor I’d be determined to get one.’
– Graham Mitchell