“When I was asked by the Torfaen and Monmouthshire party to stand for election I knew that I would want to dedicate as much of my time as possible but I also had the reality of being committed to a fulltime job as headteacher of two schools. The past few weeks though have been some of the most enjoyable and diverse that I have experienced. In the last week this has involved hosting visitors from Tanzania, conducting interviews, meeting parents, observing lessons and supporting at discos. A typical start for me is at 6.30 in the morning and a return home for after 7pm.
The internet has become a key resource for me, with daily updates on Twitter and Facebook on the campaign and the events that are taking place. With help from local Torfaen members my team and I have used social media to get our message out. The evenings are good to prepare campaign literature and materials for distribution with the team. On one evening I went to a local supermarket to pick up empty crisp boxes so that campaign literature could be boxed up and sent to the Post Office in Cardiff. The weekends though are my key time to get leaflets out and meet people on doorstep in Torfaen.
So what are people talking about on the doorstep in Torfaen?The people of Torfaen I have met are wanting to talk about the issues that matter to them. Whether they agree with my political stand point or not I want to listen to how they feel and try to make a difference for them. The campaign has also cost me a pair of shoes. After campaigning for 3 hours one Saturday morning in the Henllys area, I stepped in the car and the sole of my shoe fell off!” I estimate that I have covered over 20 miles since starting the campaign and I lost half a stone. Of the issues that people are talking about most on the doorstep, health and social care are the most talked about, followed by Brexit. A lot of people are concerned that Theresa May is focused on Hard Brexit rather than looking at fairer funding for health and social care. There is a sense that she is out of touch with many ordinary people in Wales.
How much does it all cost? Andy Street spent nearly one million pounds on his campaign to become the Tory mayor for the West Midlands. We have spent a fraction of that on my entire campaign in Torfaen. A lot of time is spent by local people helping out and supporting with their own time.
Andrew Best is the Welsh Liberal Democrat candidate for Torfaen