Oliver Townsend, is the Welsh Liberal Democrat candidate for Islwyn in the 2021 Senedd elections.
Oliver has worked for almost a decade in the third sector, across social care research, campaigning for homelessness funding, and most recently as part of a mental health charity. He has volunteered for local charities across Gwent, including a children's disability charity.
He grew up in Newport, attending the local St Joseph's RC High School, and he currently lives in Maindee with his husband and their cat.
His policy priorities are tackling poverty, ending inequality for all, making more housing available, and fighting the causes of mental ill health. As part of the LGBT+ community, and having seen isolation and bullying up close, he is passionate about creating educational opportunities for young people that embrace differences across all communities. In his words, he never wants a young person to experience what he has.
He grew up with a disability, and can see how the way society works can keep people with disabilities isolated and alone - he will be a champion for people with disabilities and ensure that changes are made that make a real difference.
Commenting on his selection Oliver said: “I am standing as a different candidate, for a different choice. Islwyn needs fresh ideas, and it is vital we listen to all voices in this election, not just those that get heard all the time.
“I am a gay and disabled man, and it has taken me a long time for me to say that so openly. I’m a fighter, having had to struggle with those labels for years. I’m no stranger to abuse or ignorance, and that’s made me see life from a whole different place.
“Islwyn is an amazing collection of communities, of people standing together and helping each other. But it has been let down by successive Governments, particularly the Tories in Westminster. With poverty on the rise, this area needs a fresh voice, and a fresh start. Especially after Covid, where poverty is on the rise, a new voice has never been more important."
Oliver is standing as the candidate for Islwyn, alongside the Welsh Liberal Democrat regional campaigner, Jo Watkins.
Jo said: “I am excited to welcome Oliver to the list of brilliant candidates we have across South Wales East. In this election, we are clear. We can do more of the same, swapping between Labour or the Tories, or you can make a different choice for the Lib Dems.
“Especially at a regional level, it is critical that we make the case for people to support us, rather than the divisive, aggressive Abolish party. In this region, your second vote will be a choice between us or them. I can’t wait to take the fight to the other parties with our strong regional team, including Oliver in Islwyn.”
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