Kirsty was born in March 1971 to Welsh parents, her father being a librarian from Llanelli and her mother being from Swansea. She was educated at the village primary school and St. Michaels School Llanelli. She studied for her degree, a B.A. Hons in American Studies, at Manchester University and The University of Missouri.
Prior to being elected to represent the people of Brecon and Radnorshire, Kirsty worked at Carmarthenshire College and for a small business in Cardiff as a Marketing Executive.
Kirsty married her husband Richard in 2000 and they have three daughters. They live on the family farm just outside Brecon.
As a strong believer in social justice from a young age, Kirsty joined the Liberal Party at the age of 15.
Alongside promoting a strong brand of liberalism, Kirsty has widely been seen a strong advocate of devolution for Wales. Kirsty was an enthusiastic ‘Yes’ campaigner in the 1997 Assembly Referendum and made her television debut as a political pundit, representing the Welsh Liberal Democrats, on election night. Following the referendum, she was appointed to the National Assembly Advisory Group by the then Secretary of State for Wales, Ron Davies.
Since the beginning of the National Assembly in 1999, Kirsty has proudly represented the people of Brecon and Radnorshire in the Senedd. Following this, Kirsty would later go on to make history by becoming, in 2008, the first female party leader in the National Assembly.
During her time as leader, Kirsty cites her proudest achievement as being the establishment of the ‘Welsh Pupil Premium’ – which has led to £282million extra money to support Wales’ most disadvantaged pupils. This was established in exchange for the party’s support for the Welsh Government’s Annual budget.
She was also widely considered the best leader in the Senedd at holding the Welsh Government to account, and gained a strong reputation for campaigner on health issues. Kirsty’s long-running ‘More Nurses’ campaign was the first successful piece of backbench legislation to make it into law in Wales, being passed following a major cross party campaign.
In May 2016, she negotiated a Progressive Agreement with the Welsh Government. The agreement included a range of common priorities in policy areas and saw her appointed as Education Minister. Since then Kirsty has been working hard to deliver on key Welsh Liberal Democrat policies such as expanding pupil premium, giving more support to rural schools and enacting the Diamond review to tackle the cost of living for Students.