OBV Profile: Marvin Rees

To date Rees has worked as a broadcast journalist for top television corporations like the BBC, including the World Service and Radio 4. His extensive work in journalism and politics have taken him around the world to places like Philadelphia, Uganda, Guinea and Liberia all of which have had a profound affect in his desire to fight world issues head on.

He says: "Travelling has done many things and I see how politics has influenced people around the world. You see people suffering from unfair trade, the homeless, kids carrying weapons. You meet people with different world views - people who see things differently to you."

At present Rees, 34, is helping make arrangements for 2007 in which Bristol will host events in recognition of the abolition of the slave trade and his key aim is to work to protest for racial reconciliation.

In addition he recently interviewed Tony Blair for a Social Exclusion series delivered on podcast for the Labour Party. These are just a couple of the varied roles this aspiring politician carries out as a journalist and campaigner.

He says that he has always been interested in politics and questioned why people were poor, how communities in the world are governed and who has control of power. He believed that journalism and politics was the way to find that out.

Rees was raised in Easton, Bristol, by his British mother and Jamaican father. He reflects on his time as a youngster in Bristol saying: "I didn't really enjoy growing up there. There was racial tension, being mixed race and from a poor family it was quite tough."

In spite of his experiences he says he wants to be an MP for the constituent, "It gave me a real desire to overcome poverty and racism. It's given me something to work to" he says.

In 1998, while in Washington, he worked for the campaigning publication Sojourner Magazine focusing on welfare reform and during a fellowship he helped Bill Clinton's advisor, Tony Campolo, undertake work in social justice in which a student campaign group was set up.

He believes that Martin Luther King did not fight a cause for a materialistic culture and argues that in the UK: "I get frustrated by a community that values street cred rather than education. It's a tough enough world so why do we make it even harder for ourselves."

Rees who has a Masters in Political Theory and Government from the University of Wales Swansea also attained a Masters in Global Economic Development in 2000 when he lived in Philadelphia.

The Labour Party member has also applied to be on the MP parliamentary panel and is already a member of the local government panel. He recently hosted the party's Let's Talk event in Birmingham and Nottingham where the Prime Minister and government ministers discussed policy issues on crime and public health respectively in the localities.

Rees is at this time on the OBV shadowing scheme, shadowing Bridget Prentice MP of Lewisham East and is said to be enjoying the experience. He adds: "I have two months left but during that time it has provided me opportunities to have that badge to my name - it is a platform so that I can be taken seriously."

The outlook for Rees as a journalist and future Mayor looks promising, he believes that within the next five years there is every chance that he will be standing as a Labour candidate, looking to do a PhD placement and doing television documentaries.

"I want to work with people who are asking questions, people who can admit that they don't know all the answers but who want to find answers - we need creative and political tension" he says.