Carl Sargeant: Former chemical plant worker who forged political career promoting social justice

Reporter:

Rory Sheehan

Carl Sargeant was born in St Asaph and lived in Connah’s Quay all his life.

Before becoming an Assembly Member in 2003 he worked at a chemical manufacturing plant as a quality and environmental auditor, and industrial fire-fighter.

He also served on Connah’s Quay Town Council and was a governor at Deeside College and Ysgol Bryn Deva.

Mr Sargeant was a tireless campaigner against domestic violence championing the White Ribbon campaign and supporting the Shotton-based Domestic Abuse Safety Unit.

His commitment to social justice was sparked after seeing the devastation of his local community in the 1980s, as steelmaking ceased at Shotton Steelworks and 6,500 people were made redundant overnight.

This event, along with textile mill closures and the effects of the recession, left the community reeling – at one point more than 30 per cent of local men were unemployed.

When the Indian Conglomerate which owns Tata Steel made the shock announcement it was considering to offload its UK sites, threatening more than 700 jobs at the Shotton plant, Mr Sargeant was a key figure in the campaign to protect them.

Alongside colleagues Ken Skates AM and Mark Tami MP, Mr Sargeant gave his support to the Leader’s Save Our Steel campaign.

Carl Sargeant, far right, pictured in September 2016 alongside colleagues Ken Skates AM and Mark Tami MP to support the Leader’s Save Our Steel campaign

One of Mr Sargeant’s last campaigns was against the growing impact of drug taking and dealing in the community.

He worked with police to fight for more resources to help them tackle the problem.

Mr Sargeant also battled for constituents who had problems accessing benefits through the Westminster Government’s controversial new Universal Credit scheme.

In the third Assembly he became the Labour Group’s Chief Whip and Mr Sargeant’s first government post was as Deputy Minister for Assembly Business.

Since then he held the posts of Minister for Social Justice and Local Government, Minister for Local Government and Communities, Minister for Housing and Regeneration, Minister for Natural Resources and until Friday he was Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children.

Football was a passion, with Mr Sargeant a fan of Newcastle United and at grassroots level, was president of FC Nomads of Connah’s Quay.

Email:

rory.sheehan@nwn.co.uk

See full story in the County Times

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