Pete Lowe was born in 1968 and raised in Stourbridge where he has lived all his life. He attended Thorns Primary and Secondary Schools before attending Halesowen College where he studied Government and Politics. He also studied drama where, for a short time, he was tutored by the comedian Frank Skinner. He joined the Labour Party at the age of 15 in 1984 during the Miners’ Strike.
In his youth Pete campaigned for the Miners’ Strike organising collections of food and money. He also campaigned against Clause 28 and is a passionate supporter of LGBT+ rights.
He qualified as a nurse in 1992 and started work at Dudley Guest Hospital. He became a specialist stroke nurse in 1995 before becoming a Charge Nurse on the Medical Admissions Ward at Russell’s Hall Hospital. He also worked at Corbett and Wordsley Hospitals in the West Midlands which formed part of the Dudley Group of Hospitals.
Pete is married to Su who he met when they studied nursing together in 1989. She is a Unite official. Together they have two daughters. Pete was a Board Member at the Black Country Living Museum, was a patron of Summit and is currently a director of a community based Music Charity that promotes the local community in Stourbridge.
Pete joined NUPE on his first day of nurse training in 1989 and quickly got involved in local campaigns including the Ambulance dispute and nurse shift changes. He helped organise the Dudley Campaign against the Poll Tax (Community Charge). In 1990 he became a work placed steward and, once qualified, in 1992 became the Branch Secretary of the NUPE Branch covering Dudley Hospitals. Upon the merger of NUPE, COHSE AND NALGO in 1995 to create UNISON Pete became its first Branch Secretary. He served UNISON between 1995 and 1999 at regional level as Vice-Chair of its Health Committee and as a delegate to its national and regional conferences.
He started the campaign against PFI in Dudley, helping to organise the dispute which led to the longest dispute in NHS history in 1999. This dispute led to the retention of the employment model agreement which gave workers additional protections when privatised. In 1999 he became a Regional Officer for UNISON based in the West Midlands and has represented the region at regional and national level. He currently works for Managers in Partnership (MiP) as a National Officer.
Pete Lowe was elected to Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council in 2003 and then from 2006 to present. He represents Lye and Stourbridge North. He became Leader in December 2014 until May 2017 and again in 2018. He stood down as Leader to concentrate on his wider West Midlands priorities and became Cabinet Member for Finance, Council Sustainability and Transformation. As Leader he ensured his Cabinet was gender balanced and represented the diverse communities the borough serves. Under Pete’s Leadership Dudley Council elected their first ever Muslim Mayor.
Pete became Vice Chair of the newly established West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) in June 2017, a position he held until the first Mayoral elections in May 2017. During this time, he worked with West Midlands TUC to ensure Trade Union Representation on the WMCA Board (the first in the country) as well as launching THRIVE, an initiative to promote employability for those with Mental Ill Health. He also took responsibility for environment at the WMCA. He describes himself as a ‘Passionate Socialist’.
2020 MAyoral run
Pete ran to be Labour’s candidate in the 2020 West Midlands Mayoral selection. He came as a strong runner up to Liam Byrne for the nomination. He introduced key policy pledges for the 2021 manifesto, such as a members policy conference.
He also argued for the full restoration of funding lost to Local Government since 2010, working with partners to support the most vulnerable communities and ensuring that everybody throughout the region benefits from increased devolved powers.
Other key policies of Pete’s included:
Creating a People’s Bank that operates fairly for all communities and provides funding for SME’s;
Developing the ‘Preston Model’ of Community Wealth building, where the Combined Authority would work with anchor institutions in the public and private sector to ensure they spend their money and resources within the West Midlands region;
Ensuring we give both younger and older working people from low income backgrounds the opportunity to access the right training and development to get decent, well paid work;
Engaging with disadvantaged groups across the region to ensure transport is accessible for all.
Pete was the Labour Party Candidate for Stourbridge at both the 2015, 2017 and 2019 General Elections.
Pete has been active in equality issues all his life and has worked with groups such as HOPE not Hate and Unite against Fascism. He helped co-ordinate and support the campaign against groups such as EDL who targeted Dudley during 2010 to 2012.
The Black Country Festival
As leader of Dudley Council Pete established the Black Country Festival with local volunteers to help promote the Black Country. Utilising the flag which was designed by local student Grace Shepherd and promoting the Black Country Date of July 14th the Black Country Festival has become one of the best supported community events across the whole of the Black Country taking place every July.
In 2014, Pete moved a motion at Dudley Council creating it as the first Fairtrade Town in Black Country.