Jane Dodds: As Brecon and Radnorshire MP I would give our rural areas back their voice in Westminster
Ahead of today's by-election Liberal Democrat candidate Jane Dodds says she would demand better for rural areas if she is elected as the MP for Brecon and Radnorshire.
Over the past few weeks, the winds of change have been blowing in Brecon and Radnorshire.
People here have looked on all the infighting in Parliament with a mix of bemusement and disappointment. Three years on from the Brexit vote and we still seem no closer to having anything close to a plan or solution to the mess we’re in.
For many, three years spent going round in circles over Brexit is three years not spent addressing the very real concerns facing our rural communities. If Westminster already felt a million miles away to our towns and villages, the national embarrassment that is Brexit has made the place even more alien to them.
Even the most basic of services – taken for granted in more urban areas – are more like luxuries here. Many villages are lucky if they’re served by a bus at all, let alone a service of any useful frequency. The words “fibre optic broadband” are a distant dream to the farming families who are lucky to get anything faster than dial-up. Patients’ hopes of timely medical treatment are dashed the moment the English hospital finds out they have a Welsh postcode.
The people of Brecon and Radnorshire deserve better than this. And as their next MP, I will demand better.
I was born and brought up in Wrexham in a Welsh speaking family. My mother instilled in me from a young age the importance of giving back to your community and making a positive difference to other people’s lives.
I graduated from Cardiff University and trained in social work, and 27 years later I’m still working as a child protection social worker, having worked with vulnerable children both at home and abroad. I hope I made a difference to the families I worked with. But what drove me into politics was realising that to achieve real social justice, you need to change the system.
Six years ago, I moved back home to Wales. I now live with my husband Patrick just outside Welshpool and have spent much of my time doing exactly what my mother taught me: fighting to protect communities across Powys.
I want to use my professional and campaigning experience to give our rural areas back its strong, liberal voice in Westminster.
I have a positive plan for our communities that I’m raring to put into action as our MP. From pushing for better broadband for families and businesses, to fighting to protect our NHS and farmers from a disastrous no-deal Brexit - these are the issues that matter to rural areas like ours.
Today's by-election is a unique chance for change for our rural communities. But if you want change, you need to vote for it.