My name is Rhodri Davies, the Plaid Cymru candidate for Blaenau Gwent. I am 27 years old.
This is the first time I’m standing in an election, and, so far, I’m enjoying it thoroughly.
Already, I’ve been walking the streets of the towns and villages of the constituency, and have had useful conversations with the people who make up our communities about their values, their concerns and their hopes for the future.
Plaid MPs have a tradition of punching above their weight in Westminster.
I’ll want to carry on this tradition if elected to represent the people of Blaenau Gwent, rather then taking up my seat just to make up the numbers.
Let’s remember, the poles are pointing to a hung parliament, which will mean that a strong group of Plaid Cymru MPs, along with the SNP, can have a real impact at Westminster, putting Wales and Scotland first.
Let’s look at the economy.
I am particularly keen to address the economic future of our town centres in Blaenau Gwent. It is more difficult than ever for small businesses to start up, which jeopardises the creation of jobs in the future. Plaid wants the National Assembly to be given tax-varying powers, so that we can cut taxes for small businesses and stimulate the economy.
Our town centres reflect the very soul of our communities, which is why this subject is very important to me.
Also, take the Westminster Government’s foreign policy for the past 13 years. It has been in the name of internationalism, but has resembled the imperialism of old.
Service men and women - many from these valleys - have been sent to two attritional conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, yet little support remains for them when they return. Education, training and employment are difficult to access, and many veterans remain over-subscribed in the NHS, or involved in the criminal justice system. At present, no national scheme to tackle the health needs of all members of the veteran population exist.
Plaid Cymru wants to see procedures put in place to end their isolation. These reflect just some of the things local people have been telling me. On the whole, they are tired of the squabbling between the London based parties.
This isn’t time for Politics as usual. If you want to see a change in Blaenau Gwent, then its time for you to elect a Plaid Cymru MP.