Joe was born in 1958, the son of a merchant seaman and an office cleaner, in a city centre tenement called Kent Gardens near the Dingle. One of six children, he attended St Vincent Primary School, where today he serves as a school governor, and St Martins Secondary School. He left school at 16, and joined the Merchant Navy and later P&O Ferries, spending 12 years at sea. At 20 he was a steward of the National Union of Seamen and became the youngest ever convener.
He led the first ever sit in on a ship – the Ulster Queen – over the threat of redundancies. It lasted for about a fortnight and was successful in saving the threatened jobs. It was also in his early 20s that he started to read political biographies, and in his own words self-educate himself. His subsequent career brought Joe back to Liverpool, where he studied for a degree in social work at Liverpool John Moores University, and then went on to become a social worker for Sefton Council in 1992.
He moved into education welfare and was appointed to lead a social inclusion unit for young people with behavioural and emotional difficulties. Joe also studied Labour History at Liverpool University. Joe was elected to Liverpool City Council for the Abercomby ward (now Riverside) in Liverpool in 1998, the place where he grew up. He became Leader of the Labour Group on the council three years later, and with Labour’s success at the 2010 election, became Leader of the Council.
In May 2012, Joe stood as the Labour Party candidate in the first-ever direct elections for the citywide Mayor of Liverpool. He won on the first ballot with a majority of 50,000 votes, securing almost 60 per cent of all votes cast. The Mayor of Liverpool is the city’s political leader. Mayor Anderson has navigated a course for the council through an increasingly difficult time for Liverpool, with the city facing the biggest cuts from central government, despite having the greatest needs.
Developing the city’s economy and creating new jobs, new schools and new homes are Joe’s priorities for Liverpool. Major regeneration projects such as the Cruise Liner Terminal, Edge Lane and Speke retail and leisure developments, two new hospitals and the growth of the science and knowledge sector will create thousands of new jobs. The Liverpool Waters regeneration of the north Liverpool docks will see billions being invested in the city’s future with new homes, offices and businesses creating 20,000 jobs. He has successfully negotiated a City Deal from the government which will see £130 million invested in building new homes and schools.
Joe is married to Marg and has four children – Joanne, (who was elected to the council in May 2010), Tony, David, Michael, and grandchildren Thomas and Lucy. He lives in the Old Swan area of the city. Joe is hugely ambitious for Liverpool, passionate about the future and devoted to the city’s prospects as a thriving, growing and prosperous city. He ardently believes Liverpool’s best days lie ahead as a leading world-class city.