It’s been great to talk to so many of you over recent days, and to hear from my campaign team who’ve been doing the same. It’s clear party members across the region are passionate about liberal values in Wales and want to see more Lib Dems elected. I look forward to speaking to many more of you in the days ahead to share my vision on the economy, education, and the environment.
Working for our communities
The COVID-19 pandemic has shown how fragile we all are and how we must pull together across our communities to support the vulnerable.
Since the start of the lockdown I have been running the local food bank where most of the regular volunteers had to self-isolate due to age and health. This has shown me first-hand the inequality in our society and as Liberal Democrats we must do more to protect the vulnerable.
This crisis has ripped into our communities, with increases in homelessness, domestic violence and child abuse, and a massive increase in joblessness. These knock-on effects are impacting on young people and women the most.
We will have a massive job of rebuilding to do here in Wales.
Here are the three policy areas I believe are key to restoring and re-energising our country.
The Economy is the enabler of all our aspirations
Wales needs a mindset change. It’s time to shake off the self-doubt and inertia of decades of Labour Assembly leadership. A refreshed Senedd should look for our country to be a global leader in the technologies of tomorrow, rather than just play catch-up as the poor relation of the UK.
We need decisive leadership and focussed investment in green transport, electric car charging, hydrogen powered busses, increased rail provision, green energy generation and carbon neutral house building.
Education is Wales’ secret weapon to ‘punch above our weight’
We should build on Kirsty Williams’ transformative work in reshaping our school system, by helping our bright young minds develop the skills needed for the challenges of the 21st Century.
This means targeted investment in our Apprenticeships, Further and Higher Education. Having spent a lot of time visiting Europe’s smaller nations such as the Netherlands and Nordic countries, I’ve seen first-hand the impact that investing in brainpower has on a country’s economic fortunes.
Wales was at the heart of the industrial revolution. We can be a powerhouse of the green revolution.
As a member of the Green Liberal Democrats I recognise that environmentalism isn’t just a moral issue – it’s an economic opportunity. Like you – I want our country to be carbon negative, through a green-powered recovery.
Radical solutions to the environmental challenges we face are available to us right now, with carbon neutral housing association homes within a stone’s throw of my own home. And green building regulations can make homes cheaper to live in too.
With a strong liberal vision, clear policies, and a dynamic approach to campaigning we can deliver for the communities and country we want to represent.
Make me your first preference vote in the SWE regional list.
Cllr Jo Watkins
Ps. If you would like further information about my views on these or any other policies you are welcome to contact me directly on [email protected].
You can also communicate with me on social media on Twitter via @cllrjowatkins and on Facebook via @JoWatkinsPolitician