ASSEMBLY ELECTIONS - Vale of Clwyd, Clwyd West and Aberconwy candidate profiles


Stephanie Price, Suzanne Jordan and Steve Craddock

VOTERS in Wales will be heading to the polls tomorrow (Thursday) to select the Welsh Assembly Government for the next five years.

Readers from across Vale of Clwyd, Clwyd West and Aberconwy have two votes - one for their constituency assembly member and one for their regional assembly member.

Constituencies will be represented by one AM, whereas regions will be represented by four with a total of 60 AMs representing 40 constituencies and five regions across Wales.

The AMs split their time between constituency work and the Welsh Assembly in Cardiff.

At the same time voters can choose North Wales' new Police and Crime Commissioner.

This is just as important as the commissioner decides how policing is carried out in the area as well as holding the police force to account.

Take some time to read over the candidate profiles featured below or in this week's Journal and North Wales Pioneer and decide who deserves your vote.

Your candidates for the Vale of Clwyd constituency

Ann Jones is the Welsh Labour candidate for the Vale of Clwyd

"I AM seeking re- election as your Assembly Member and will need your support on May 5 to achieve this. I have had the honour and privilege to represent the Vale of Clwyd since 1999. I want to continue what I have always done which is to stand up for the Vale of Clwyd and believe I have a proven track record as a hard working Assembly Member who cares passionately about our area and its people.

"The unprecedented Tory Westminster cuts of £1.3bn has been challenging but Welsh Labour kept its promise : more spending on NHS, protection for education spend, jobs growth Wales providing jobs. Since 1999 I have been a strong voice in Cardiff representing you and working tirelessly with Ministers on issues that affect you. What has this meant for us in the Vale of Clwyd: a new Surnicc, retention of Consultant Led Maternity Service both at Glan Clwyd, capital investment for Alex Hospital and a new Primary Care Centre in Prestatyn: an ambitious school building programme: Rhyl High, Glan Clwyd, Bodnant Community School, Ysgol y Llys and protection of education funding for all schools."

Mair Rowlands is the Plaid Cymru: For North Wales candidate for the Vale of Clwyd

“I work as a Sustainable Development Officer at Bangor University where I assist the University to develop opportunities to operate sustainably.

"I am a County Councillor for Plaid Cymru and a Cabinet Member for Children Young People and Leisure. Most recently, I have been involved with the campaign against the downgrading of maternity services at Glan Clwyd Hospital, and the campaign to save Dolwen care home in Denbigh.

"I am standing in this election because I want to work to create a better future for the Vale of Clwyd and North Wales. We need a new and strong voice for the Vale of Clwyd, to ensure that we have better health services, better paid work and someone who will defend public services and fight for a better future for our young people. Plaid Cymru is the only party that puts Wales first every time and has a vision for a better Wales. I want to be part of the team that responds to the exciting challenge of building a strong economy, a more equal society and better services for all."

Paul Davies-Cooke is the UK Independence Party candidate for the Vale of Clwyd

"I am married with three children, my family have lived in North Wales for many generations. I have farmed, worked within the farming community and road haulage.

"I am currently a lecturer in further education. I have served with the Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers, REME, TA and am a detachment commander with the Army Cadet Force, involved with the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme and other charities. I am a local Councillor.

"I was honoured to stand for UKIP in 2015 for the Vale of Clwyd Constituency and thank the 4,755 people who voted for me.

"I hope in May 2016 voters new and old have the courage to vote for me. Let 2016 be the year of change for the people of Wales.

"Wales and the Vale of Clwyd needs UKIP AMs to report back to the people as it has done over Europe, informing how our money is being spent and wasted. Local Government reorganisation will cost millions. Buying of airports, land, factory sites, selling off assets at a loss.

"Think Europe doesn’t affect us in Wales? Past Governments and Politicians of all parties here and in Westminster are why our NHS, education, welfare, services and infastructure are failing."

Gwyn Williams is the Welsh Liberal Democrats candidate for the Vale of Clwyd

"Born in Denbigh, and brought up in the Vale of Clwyd. I graduated from Reading University and returned home to farm and now live in Llandyrnog. Both my children were born in Ysbyty Glan Clwyd. I am very grateful to the hospital staff, who have cared for my family and I.

"I am tired of our Health Service being treated as a political football. I want to take the party politics out of the NHS and see consensus established. In this election my Party is calling for an all party Commission to plan the way forward for our NHS. Only last month my Party successfully introduced a Safer Nursing Bill, which will ensure minimum nursing levels on our hospital wards. The Welsh Liberal Democrat group has persuaded the Labour Government to introduce a specific grant to each school to raise the attainment level of pupils from poorer backgrounds. Across North Wales over the last five years, this has been worth £53 million to our schools. For years North Wales has lost out to the South. Even so Labour and Conservatives plan to spend another £1,000 million on the M4 at Newport. We need strong fearless representatives who will stand up for us."

Sam Rowlands is the Welsh Conservative candidate for the Vale of Clwyd

"On May 5, you have the opportunity to bring change to the Vale of Clwyd.

"I know our area is a fantastic place to live, work and enjoy but I also believe that we have been let down by a Labour Government in Cardiff who are tired and out of touch. We cannot afford for our area to be left behind the rest of the UK; I will work with Dr James Davies, MP for Vale of Clwyd, to ensure we are central to the development of a North Wales Powerhouse, bringing jobs and boosting our economy.

"Labour have been in power in Wales for 17 years. The state of our Welsh NHS shows they aren’t up to the job. Now under Jeremy Corbyn, Labour want another five years to make the same mistakes. With more control over tax coming soon, they’ll be a threat to every family’s economic security. As a father of two young children, a local county councillor with a professional job, I know what it means to work hard and I know what it will take to improve our high streets, hospitals and deliver jobs."

Your candidates for the Clwyd West constituency

Darren Millar is the Welsh Conservative candidate for Clwyd West

“Wales is a great nation, but we could do so much better than is currently the case. It's a sad fact that in Wales you are more likely to be unemployed, wait longer for NHS treatment, or leave school without qualifications than in other parts of the UK. It's not good enough and that's why we need a change of Government in Cardiff Bay.

"While health spending has increased in other parts of the UK, our NHS has experienced record-breaking cuts and the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board has been beset by scandals.

"If I'm re-elected , I plan to continue to fight to protect services at Glan Clwyd, Colwyn Bay, Ruthin and Abergele hospitals; Support a council tax freeze for households in Conwy and Denbighshire; Back local businesses by seeking to scrap business rates for small firms; Stop unnecessary school closures and Protect communities from unnecessary development."

Julian Huw Mahy is the Wales Green Party candidate for Clwyd West

“Across Wales, there has been a surge in membership of the Green Party. All manner of people have been attracted to its unique message. This year everyone in Wales will have the chance to vote Green.

“I have lived in Colwyn Bay since 1992. As a lawyer, I was magistrates’ clerk in Conwy and Denbighshire for 20 years. I then trained as a family mediator and now participate in various community activities and voluntary work.

"A Green voice in the Senedd will provide commitment to the single most important issue of our time: climate change. Technology is not the sole answer. A reduced demand for energy inevitably involves a social dimension. Our core values respecting humankind’s need for freedom, social equity, health, fulfilment and to be in harmony with our environment apply equally at the community level and globally.

"We have clear commitments to a fair economy, vibrant communities, free education, affordable homes, a public NHS and a connected Wales."

Jo Thomas is the Welsh Labour candidate for Clwyd West

"I am a wife and a mother and the only woman standing in this constituency. I am not a professional politician and come from a working class background.

“Unlike other candidates I am not standing for election on the regional list. I am only standing in Clwyd West where I live. I am a fluent Welsh speaker.

“Yes there have been challenges especially with the health service.

“But progress is being made and we should be positive about the good things that are happening here in health and education.

“The Conservatives in England seem to be keen on privatisation of the NHS. We are committed to keeping the NHS in the public's hands. We believe in working with and listening to those who work in the NHS and education - not fighting them.

“I have a particular interest in serving the needs of elderly and disabled people. Making sure small businesses and farmers get a fair deal are also priorities for me.”

David Edwards is the UK Independence Party candidate for Clwyd West

David Edwards of the UK Independence Party was born in Manchester to a family with strong Welsh ancestry. 

At 16 years of age he joined the Army junior leaders and went on to serve with the 22nd Cheshire Regiment. After several years, he was medically discharged with a disability following a back injury and retrained in computers before establishing a successful career in the oil industry.

Mr Edwards has worked all over the world including Asia, Middle East, and the USA and has faced success and challenges in equal measure.

He is a proud single parent of two young adults.

"The constituency deserves a candidate that has the passion to fight for all elements of society," he said.

"The traditional parties are factionalised and have lost the ability to think outside of the box. I have a great deal of life experience; I believe this is key to being able to understand and relate to my constituents.

”I have encountered many challenges in life, serving in the armed forces, raising a family and living with a disability.”

Llyr Huws Gruffydd is the Plaid Cymru candidate for Clwyd West

Plaid Cymru candidate Llyr Huws Gruffydd lives on a farm near Ruthin.

He was previously a manager with an economic development company but started his career as a youth worker, becoming Senior Development Officer with the Wales Youth Agency and the chief officer for the Council for Wales of Voluntary Youth Services.

From 1999 to 2003 he worked as a researcher and press officer for Plaid’s Members of the European Parliament, Jill Evans and Eurig Wyn. He was also National Campaign Co-ordinator for then Plaid Cymru President, Dafydd Wigley, in the run-up to the 1999 National Assembly elections.

Llyr was Plaid Cymru Assembly candidate for Carmarthen West & South Pembrokeshire in 2003 when he came within 400 votes of taking the seat from Christine Gwyther AM.

He was the 2010 Westminster Election candidate for Clwyd West, securing the second biggest swing to Plaid in the country. Llyr is Cymru's Shadow Minister for Sustainable Communities, Energy and Food.

Victor Babu is the Liberal Democrats candidate for Clwyd West

Liberal Democrat Dr Victor Babu is a surgeon at Glan Clwyd Hospital who lives in Colwyn Bay.

Dr Babu is chair of the North Wales Regional Equality Network, a charity that promotes quality and protects human rights in North Wales.

He represented NWREN in the Stakeholders Reference Group of the Local Health Board and served as its chair for a year until November 2014, during which time he represented the people of North Wales in the Health Board of Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board as associate member.

Dr Babu feels he is the right person to lead on Welsh health agenda and believes in a society that is fair for all and wants to consolidate the party’s reputation of strong local delivery by promoting a fair deal to all farmers and create job opportunities for young people

He aims to promote collaboration between different industries such as tourism, leisure, agriculture and conservation to create and maintain jobs for a thriving economy.

Your candidates for the Aberconwy constituency

Janet Finch-Saunders is the Welsh Conservative Party candidate for Aberconwy

Janet Finch Saunders was elected to the Welsh Assembly in May 2011 as the member for Aberconwy in North Wales and Shadow Minister for Local Government in the National Assembly for Wales.

A former Llandudno Town and Conwy County Councillor as well as a former Mayor of Llandudno town she has comprehensive political experience.

Janet was also previously a National Assembly regional candidate for North Wales, and a Parliamentary candidate before being selected as the Welsh Conservative candidate for Aberconwy in an Open Primary – the first to be held in Wales.

The success at the 2011 elections to the National Assembly for Wales for the Welsh Conservatives, put them into the position of Official Opposition under the leadership of Andrew RT Davies AM. Janet is a member of the Communities, Equalities and Local Government Committee, Vice-Chair of the Cross-Party Group on the Horse, member of the Cross-Party Group on Vision and Health Committee.

Petra Haig  is the Wales Green Party candidate for Aberconwy

Petra Haig is passionate about putting a Green Party voice in to the main political arena in North Wales.

People are fed up with a constant message of cuts and austerity and the Green Party offers a fresh new approach.

Petra believes that The Green Party looks at issues from a different point of view, not right or left but centrally.

Central to the planet, she says everyone’s sole source of wealth and health, central to the well- being of communities and central to the beautiful country of Wales.

Petra lives and works in Aberconwy and is married with three children.

Petra works in the National Health Service and also has experience of accessing local NHS services as well as having an elderly relative in a care home nearby.

Recently, Petra has been involved in campaigning against Wylfa B and has responded against the Consultation Document for the Disposal of High Grade Nuclear Waste in Wales.

Sarah Ivonne Lesiter-Burgess is the Welsh Liberal Democrats candidate for Aberconwy

Sarah Lesiter-Burgess is an employment law advisor who runs her own HR consultancy company and is a community councillor in Glan Conwy. 

She shares the commitment of the Welsh Lib Dem leader, Kirsty Williams, to be ambitious for Wales and to deliver an NHS that puts patients first.

Kirsty’s More Nurses Bill has already been agreed and the party promises equality of care for mental health patients.

As a parent governor of her children’s school Sarah has seen the benefit of the Lib Dems’ Pupil Premium, where schools receive a grant of £900 for each disadvantaged child.

The Lib Dems will fight to continue this grant and are also committed to reducing infant class sizes to 25 pupils.

Sarah has welcomed the decision of Lib Dem Assembly Members to vote against a £10,000 a year pay rise.

All other AMs supported the pay rise at a time when public sector workers face pay restraints and the Tories were trying to cut tax credits.

Sarah’s priority will be to ensure North Wales gets its fair share of funding.

Trystan Lewis is the Plaid Cymru candidate for Aberconwy

Trystan Lewis was raised in Treganwy and is standing for Plaid Cymru.

He attended Ysgol Morfa Rhianedd and Ysgol y Creuddyn, before going to the University of Wales in Aberystwyth and the University of Liverpool, receiving a degree in Welsh and Welsh History and a Bachelors and a Masters in Music from Liverpool.

Trystan, owner of Siop Lewis in Llandudno, has served his area as an organist in chapels and church, as well as being a voice coach, helping encourage young people's talents.

He has raised thousands for charitiys through his work as a musician, and he led Maelgwn Male Voice Choir for 15 years.

He is a married man and the proud father of three children, Leusa, Rhyddid and Brython, three youngsters who are already taking an avid interest in politics.

Trystan has been involved in politics since his time at university with Plaid Ifanc.

Later he played a part in Gareth Jones's campaign when he took the seat for Plaid Cymru in the 1999 Assembly election. His aim is to re-take the seat in 2016.

Mike Priestley is the Labour candidate for Aberconwy

Mike Priestley lives in Llandudno Junction with his wife and two children. Born and bred in Conwy, Mike has represented Marl Ward as a Labour County Councillor since 2004, serving in various cabinet positions.

During his time on Conwy County Council, Mike has gained a reputation for getting things done. If elected to the Welsh Assembly on May 5, Mike plans to build on his record of delivery - standing up for his constituents, and taking positive action on behalf of everyone in Aberconwy.

Mike said: “As your Assembly Member, I would draw on my years of experience and record of delivery in local Government. I will be a strong voice in the Assembly, fighting for the things that matter to our communities here in Aberconwy: high quality health services, better transport links, skills for our young people and support for our businesses.

“The people of Aberconwy need someone with a positive, ambitious vision for our region to represent them in Cardiff Bay. I have that vision, and it would be my honour to serve you if elected on 5 May."

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