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Cabinet member announces retirement

Posted on Friday 9th February 2024
Julia Jessel newsroom smiling

Cllr Julia Jessel will continue to serve as a county councillor until the local authority election in 2025.

Staffordshire County Council Cabinet member Julia Jessel is stepping down after 40 years in politics.

The Conservative politician will continue to serve as a county councillor until the local authority election in 2025 but has stepped down from her role as cabinet member for Health and Care with immediate effect.

She will be succeeded immediately in the Health and Care role by Councillor Mike Wilcox.

Julia Jessel, who represents the Needwood Forest division in East Staffordshire, said:

Everyone comes to a point in time when they need to take stock and plan for the future. 

After completing more than 40 years as an elected member, I decided some time ago that this would be my last term. 

With this in mind, in discussions with the Leader, I have decided to return to the back benches for my last year, almost like a phased retirement.”  

County Council leader Alan White said:

I first met Julia 20 years ago and in all that time she hasn’t changed: there is still the same determination to ensure that promises are kept, standards are maintained and services delivered on behalf of the residents she serves.

It’s said that all political careers end in failure, but Julia’s hasn’t. The Health and Care portfolio is a difficult responsibility facing several pressures and although there is always more to be done Julia’s work leaves the service in a strong position for her successor.”

In a political career spanning more than 40 years, Councillor Jessel has been an elected member at district, borough and county levels in Staffordshire.  

First elected to Staffordshire County Council in May 2017, she was appointed Cabinet member for Environment, Infrastructure and Climate change in July 2020.

Becoming Cabinet member for Health and Care in May 2021, Councillor Jessel helped to oversee the council’s public health recovery to the COVID pandemic as well as taking responsibility for adult social care services around the county.

Councillor Jessel added:

It’s been a privilege and honour to be able to serve as a Cabinet member, working with talented colleagues and supported by dedicated, very professional staff.

I will continue to serve my local community with the same enthusiasm and commitment as always.”

Councillor Jessel’s varied career includes being a Justice of the Peace, General Commissioner of Tax, Member of Keele University Court and Council, and Chairman of ‘Women Learning for Life’ at Staffordshire University.

In the past she has been Chairman of Central Rivers Initiative, which is a partnership board of quarrying companies, public sector bodies, landowners and Wildlife Trusts. The joint work of this organisation led to the successful bid for £2.4 million investment for the Transforming the Trent Valley Project.

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