With all the counting for the County Council elections done and dusted, I am over the moon to see the Welsh Liberal Democrats emerge as the largest party in Powys, writes Jane Dodds MS.

I want to thank all those who placed their trust in our team to put forward a positive vision for Powys and to all our candidates and volunteers who put in a tremendous amount of work.

However, I also wish to put on record my thanks to everyone who put themselves forward for election, no matter what political banner they stood under. It isn’t easy to put yourself forward for election and to put your head above the parapet. It involves long hours and sometimes unfortunately abuse.

So to all candidates, whether you were successful or not, thank you for putting yourselves out there and ensuring the wheels of democracy keep on turning.

Beyond the successes of my own party on Friday, I am also delighted to see a number of new and diverse faces entering the council. Glyn Preston, elected for Llanidloes aged 22 looks set to be the youngest councillor since the council was formed in 1995. In a county where around 1,000 skilled workers are leaving every year this is a voice that is desperately needed. Elsewhere the Lib Dem group has its highest number of women ever at nine.

This includes Josie Ewing, a mum who by her own account is from a poverty-stricken background and never saw themselves as being able to get involved in politics.

We absolutely need more people like Josie and Glyn to be involved in politics as we go forward. We cannot expect councils to work well for the people without reasonable levels of diversity and glad we have taken steps towards addressing this at this election.

Once again I want to thank everyone who voted in the election last week and ensure communities' voices are heard. I know the Welsh Liberal Democrat group will now be hard at work to try and form an administration and bring the positive change Powys needs.