IT’S been just over a month since the Senedd elections, and I’m still genuinely blown away by the result.
I deeply appreciate the faith you have shown in us and I will work every day to repay it, whether you voted for me or not.
I said in my speech after hearing the result that it is now time for us all to come together for the Llanelli constituency and for Wales. And boy do we have a challenge ahead of us.
For starters, we are still grappling with Coronavirus. We are close to a point where we can live normally with this awful disease, but we are not there yet. We will continue to take a cautious, science-led approach that keeps Wales safe.
Then we must put all our energies into the recovery. Helping schools to catch up, eating into those NHS waiting lists, and putting our town centre back on its feet.
My focus will be on nurturing the so-called “foundational economy” – the jobs that tend to stay in an area regardless of the economic climate. These jobs can be found in sectors like construction or social care, and don’t up sticks and leave the area when times are hard.
Our focus now needs to be nurturing these jobs, so they pay properly and help us keep more wealth in our area rather than siphoned off elsewhere. As a start, we will pay the Real Living Wage to all social care workers. It’s the most expensive policy in our manifesto, but it’s also the right one after these last twelve months for care workers. And as we build a new generation of low-carbon homes for social rent, I will be banging the drum for our small, local builders to take a greater slice of the profits away from the big developers. Practical ideas that will help make things better.
As Deputy Minister for Climate Change in the new Welsh Government, I will also be working tirelessly to make sure our recovery from the pandemic is greener and fairer for places like Llanelli. Because for too many people, the old “normal” simply wasn’t working.
All in all, it’s a massive task, but it’s one we need to face together. I spoke to far too many people during the election campaign who had simply given up. I don’t think this area’s best days are behind it, and I know you don’t either. Let’s now get on with the work of moving Wales forward.