TIME to think big for Wales. I know many people in Newport and Monmouthshire share my frustration with the Welsh Assembly and its Labour government.
Devolution should have been an opportunity for Wales but it has, frankly, been a disappointment.
Labour has to take the blame for that – they’ve been the main party in government here since 1999.
We can change that. We can send new blood to the Assembly and bring fresh ideas.
To start off, there are three crucial areas where Welsh Liberal Democrats will make a difference.
Health: Get to the bottom of claims that £1 billion is wasted every year in the Welsh NHS and use the money to improve services for patients Schools: Introduce a pupil premium of £2,500 for each pupil on free school meals so that schools can reduce class sizes and make sure all pupils leave school with a decent education.
Jobs: We need opportunities for young people. Welsh Lib Dems will offer employers £2,000 towards the cost of training if they take on a young unemployed person.
That’s real, permanent jobs for young people.
Finally, we’re coming towards the end of an election campaign for a new government in Wales.
We must elect a government for Wales based on Welsh issues. Whoever we elect will be with us for five years, so we have to be sure that we elect the right person.
I hope you have come to know me well enough over the last eight years to know that I am passionate about our area and will be a strong and persuasive advocate for local interests while keeping the ability to think big for Wales.
Ed Townsend: Deputy leader of Newport City Council and councillor for St Julian’s ward since 2004.
Ed has led the Welsh Liberal Democrats in Newport East as they have come up from third place, nearly 7,000 behind Labour in the 1999 Assembly election, to a mere 875 votes short of winning the seat in 2005.
One last shove can open up a new world for politics in Newport.