With COVID causing such issues to our normal lives, Rhys wanted to be able to reach out to everyone, so please take a listen if you would like to hear a little more of his background.
As Wales enters a period of lockdown, Rhys gives his thoughts on the current situation and what we need to be thinking about in the future.
Rhys has had first hand experience of mental illhealth it's a really important topic to him. Betsi Cadwaladr public health data shows that it has the highest number of sectionings under the mental health act compared to all welsh health boards.
With 16 & 17 year old in Wales gaining the vote in the next Senedd Elections Rhys gives his thoughts on what more they deserve.
Rhys is currently campaigning hard within the Welsh Liberal Democrats to get a new minimum wage policy adopted. Rhys gives his thoughts on the issue of on the discrimination on the basis of age.
Although Rhys followed, what many see as the traditional route into becoming an actuarial professional, here he looks back at what he would have done differently had he known the possibilities of apprenticeships.
Conservative MP for Aberconwy Robin Millar voted against extending free school meal support to vulnerable children in England.
The opposition motion would have extended provision of free school meals to eligible pupils over the half-term holiday period.
In Wales, the Welsh Liberal Democrat Education Minister Kirsty Williams has made preventing child hunger during the COVID-19 crisis a priority by continuing free school meals through the school holidays up to and including Easter 2021 and extending support to eligible children who cannot be in school due to the need for shielding or self-isolation. These actions have been praised by Manchester United footballer and food poverty campaigner Marcus Rashford.
It is a privilege to have this opportunity to introduce myself to you as the adopted 2021 Senedd candidate for the Aberconwy constituency.
I was born and bred in Merthyr Tydfil, and undertook my schooling through the medium of Welsh at Ysgol Gyfun Rhydfelen. Prior to pursuing a degree in Physics at Imperial College London, my studies focused on Science and oddly enough 6th century Welsh literature as I could not pass on the opportunity of studying an A-Level in Welsh.
On graduating from Imperial College I entered the Lloyd’s of London insurance market as a trainee actuary and have been in the financial service industry ever since. I often day-dream of the thought of establishing an Actuarial Science College in Wales, and bringing further depth to Wales’ already rich skills force.
I’ve been fortunate to represent both Wales and the wider UK as part of several overseas visits to amazing parts of the world such as Patagonia and China. I am truly passionate about international volunteering and our part in the global community. During my time growing up, I could see how inward looking at times life could be and knew that I wanted Wales to be a global participant and leading the United Kingdom’s position.
I have been a life-long member of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, having joined the party in 2009 and stood as one of the youngest candidates for the then Assembly in the Arfon constituency in the 2011 elections, at the age of 20. I have had close ties to the Aberconwy Liberal Democrats for many years, having been supported and encouraged to pursue politics by Lord Roger Roberts for over a decade. I could only dream of seeing the Liberals once again achieve the level of support Roger had achieved during his many years fighting for this very seat.
It seems in this Brexit/Covid period that people have (understandably) become pessimistic when it comes to politics. There’s widespread mistrust with the mainstream political parties and we’re becoming increasingly polarised in our views. However, the 2021 election presents a fantastic opportunity to engage our younger voters, with 16 and 17 year-olds being eligible to vote for the first time. Movements such as Extinction Rebellion and the Black Lives Matter campaign have proven that engaged younger people can, and do, have the power to change the political landscape.
For this reason I feel it’s a priority to ensure that we bring forward a universal basic income, and our first steps should be looking at the inequality that exists in minimum wage being tied to the employees age. In other words – same job, same pay. I feel that by making simple changes to the National Insurance threshold that this can be achieved without any burden on local businesses who are so essential to a post-Covid economic recovery. This can also go hand-in-hand with promoting the area’s tourist industry helping to create much-needed jobs.
Another area of focus for me will be in regards to the poorly performing Betsi Cadwaladr Hospital Board, particularly in regards to the treatment of mental ill-health. Mental illness is even more prominent now we live in such abnormal times, all generations deserve a minimum level of mental health support. Having first hand experience, I know how difficult it can be to understand the illness faced, see the warning signs and to find the right place for support. We need a comprehensive mental health strategy fit for purpose. That means developing a well-coordinated, responsible, multi-disciplinary task force headed by a Minister for Mental Health.
For the time-being it seems that campaigning and communication will be largely conducted online so I would encourage you all to reach out to me via email or social media with any questions or concerns you may have. I look forward to hearing from you and in due-course meeting you all in person.
Rhys D. Jones (BSc. Hons.)
@RhysJonesLD on twitter and instagram or email me at email@example.com.
Unfortunately Jason Edwards has had to step aside from political work for personal reasons and will therefore no longer be able to represent us in the Senedd Elections. Jason was an excellent and committed candidate who increased our share of the vote in Aberconwy after many years on a downward trend. He was a respected member of our team, so he will be greatly missed by all. We hope to announce a new candidate soon, however Jason will be a tough act to follow.
UPDATE September 2020 : Sadly Jason has had to step aside for personal reasons.
I'm very pleased to announce that Jason Edwards has been selected to fight the Aberconwy Constituency seat in the Senedd elections to be held in May 2021 on behalf of Aberconwy Liberal Democrats.
As you will know, Jason was our candidate in the general election in December last year, almost doubling our vote and ensuring that we retained our deposit. He built a small but dedicated team of members to support his campaign and I'm proud of the loyalty each and every one of them has displayed towards him.
Jason is a real Community Champion - during the Covid-19 crisis, Jason has dedicated his time, skills and leadership qualities towards working with the Penmaenmawr Foodbank team to safely deliver food to people urgently in need of help at this difficult time.
On accepting the nomination, Jason said “This is a great opportunity to build on the gains we made during the General Election. It is imperative that we continue with our rebuilding work and show Aberconwy that liberalism is alive and well in our communities. We only progress if we all take a step forward, and it is my hope that we take that step together."
I'm looking forward to being part of his team again during the months leading up to the Senedd election. If you'd like to join him - and me - please fill in the slip below and return it to Jonathan Patchett our Membership and Data officer at firstname.lastname@example.org
Acting Chair, Aberconwy Lib Dems
Can you help Jason's campaign?
I can deliver leaflets / display a poster / be part of a canvassing team / help with office work
I can donate
Campaigns and leaflets cost money! If you would like to make a donation to the campaign, please make cheques payable to Aberconwy Lib Dems and send to our Treasurer, Katherine Lewis, at 8 Vicarage Avenue, Llandudno, LL30 1PS. Remember to return this slip with your donation with your name and address. Thank you.
Some of of our team joined in a Great day on the LibDems stand at the Royal Welsh Show on Thursday! So proud to be Welsh and work with such wonderful people
Members of Aberconwy Liberal Democrats had an early start last Saturday as they travelled by coach and train to London, to participate in the ‘Put it to the people march’ organised by the cross-party Peoples Vote Campaign. We marched with over one million other people calling on the government to have a Second Referendum on Brexit.
Speaking to the crowd gathered on Park Lane our Prospective Parliamentary Candidate Jason Edwards said “We are here because Brexit will do irreparable harm to my area and the people of Wales. Aberconwy Liberal Democrats will continue to oppose Brexit, because that is the right thing to do.”
Campaigners now believe there is clear majority of people in Aberconwy, who wish to Remain in the EU.
Jason Edwards and members of Aberconwy Lib Dems attended a demonstration in Colwyn Bay against school funding cuts across Wales.