I wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone across Mid & West Wales who put their trust in the Welsh Liberal Democrats on May 6th, writes Jane Dodds MS.

It is a huge honour to be your new Member of the Senedd for the Region and I pledge to work tirelessly to give our diverse communities a strong voice in Cardiff Bay. I also will work to ensure we put our recovery from Covid-19 at the heart of everything we do.

The pandemic has stretched communities, businesses and local services to breaking point. Now, thanks to the success of the vaccination programme, we are now slowly beginning to move forward.

But to aim to merely return to the way things were is simply not good enough.

Even before the pandemic far too many in our society were struggling.

Insecure work, a lack of quality affordable housing, a loss of community services and amenities and a threadbare welfare system are all issues we must address.

The big local issue I’ve been fighting this past month is the proposed closure of some primary schools in Powys.

We are clear the Conservatives and Independents can stop the proposed closures and I’ve joined the Welsh Liberal Democrats on the council in criticising the plans.

This is not the time to do this when there is so much stress in people and children’s lives. We urge compassion and accountability in the School Transformation Programme and that this is paused whilst we all recover from the pandemic.

Our farming community is another vital aspect of our local economy, yet the UK Government is now threatening to sell out our farmers and consumers for a quick and damaging trade deal with Australia.

I have met with NFU Cymru to discuss their concerns and will continue to oppose any deal that will undercut our world-leading food and animal welfare standards.

I was also delighted to vote for an urgent review into water pollution rules.

Nobody questions the importance of healthy waterways, clean air, and a thriving environment. But the approach must be proportionate and support must be put in place to enable farmers to adapt to new ways of working, including training and financial support.

I will continue to campaign on all these issues and more. If I, or my team, can be of any help then please do get in touch by emailing jane.dodds@senedd.cymru.