Former U.S President Ronald Reagan once said “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We don't pass it to our children in the bloodstream.”

I was reminded of this as I explained the importance of voting to young people at a recent pre-European elections school event in Monmouth. Yes people need to engage but I think politicians themselves need to do far more to inspire people to vote.

Few can have failed to have been inspired by the story of “Chance”, an 11 year old Staffordshire Bull terrier, missing for 10 years and found alive in an underpass in Newport.

Although in a neglected condition Chance had fortunately been microchipped by his owners and a quick scan was able to reunite him with his family. Stories like Chance’s bring home the importance of getting pets microchipped.

I was very pleased to join the Dog Trust’s microchipping team at Wye Valley Country Store in Monmouth this week to see this extremely quick but potentially invaluable procedure. Most importantly there is financial support available for pet owners who may be worried about being able to afford the bill so there really is no excuse - get your dog microchipped.

The hot topic in the Assembly this week was the Welsh Government’s proposals to outlaw so-called “e-cigarettes” in enclosed public spaces, bringing them into line with conventional cigarettes.

I really do think this sort of proposal shows the Assembly in its worst light, seeking to legislate in what is clearly a vacuum of solid evidence and good sense.

E-cigarettes seem a useful and proven way for smokers to quit and avoid its harmful effects and there is currently no concrete evidence to suggest that the vapour from them is harmful. Yes let’s investigate the potential health consequences of electric cigarettes but I think we start down a dangerous road if we start banning things at the first opportunity without any real evidence.

Finally can I wish Cllr Martin Hickman and Cllr Maureen Powell well in their new roles as Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Abergavenny.

I was delighted to be invited to attend the recent Mayoral installation in the Borough theatre in Abergavenny with the usual rousing performance from Abergavenny’s Brass Band. I know Martin and his deputy will do the very best for the town and I look forward to working with them over the coming year.