Labour’s Dan Jarvis is the heavy favourite to win the Mayoral election this Thursday and it’s easy to see why.
The Labour party controls all the 15 parliamentary seats and the four local authorities in South Yorkshire.
Mr Jarvis is one of those 15, having represented the Barnsley Central seat since 2011, and he intends to remain the area’s MP if he wins the mayoral election.
Since the mayor position does not have any agreed powers, Mr Jarvis believes maintaining his parliamentary seat gives him the best opportunity to lobby government for more funding for South Yorkshire.
“I think there are big questions about the amount of funds that come into our region, we only get about a tenth of the money that is spent per capita in London and in the South East of England, so there’s a massive funding inequality there,” said Mr Jarvis.
The reason the office of Sheffield City Region Mayor doesn’t have any powers is because Sheffield, Rotherham, Barnsley and Doncaster Council’s cannot agree on what exactly the mayor should do.
This issue is at the heart of why Mr Jarvis is running for the position.
He said: “The basis of my candidacy is drawing the region together. There isn’t agreement at the moment between the four council leaders, so I think I’m the best person to bring them together.
“When we reach an agreement then we can get on with the business of drawing money from the government to help the people of South Yorkshire.”
If he does get the opportunity to fulfil his role as a metro-mayor, Mr Jarvis has been open about only occupying the office for two years, rather than fulfil the full four-year mandate.
If this wish is granted, Mr Jarvis wants to use the office as a springboard for a mayoral seat that covers all of Yorkshire.
Currently, 18 of the 20 councils within Yorkshire back the idea, but Sheffield and Rotherham do not. It’s yet to be seen if anyone will be able to change their mind over this.
Mr Jarvis may have the tenacity needed to bring the four councils together after years of bickering, and convince the government there should be a devolution deal for all of Yorkshire.
After he finished his degree he enrolled at Sandhurst Military Academy in 1994 and joined the 1st Battalion Parachute Regiment.
During his time in the Parachute Regiment, Mr Jarvis was a platoon commander in Kosovo in 1999. He also served in Sierra Leone and Afghanistan.
He stayed in the military until he was elected an MP in a by-election and became the first Barnsley MP to be born outside of Yorkshire since 1938.
If Mr Jarvis is elected and able to finally bring South Yorkshire together, his next step will be to invest the annual £30 million, which has been set aside for the mayor on improving the region’s transport.