An Immense Privilege to Serve
I would like to express my sincere thanks to the electors of this Mid & West Region for the immense privilege of serving them, as Welsh Liberal Democrat Assembly Member over the past five years.
One of the Richest Experiences
It has been one of the richest experiences of my life to date to work across this vast and beautiful Region - and to try to do something to enhance the quality of life of its citizens. In my work in the National Assembly, both as Chair of the Petitions Committee, as a Member of the Environment & Sustainability Committee and latterly the Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee, I have endeavoured to represent the interests of ordinary people and defend their rights, and to be an advocate for our Environment and hard pressed rural communities. In the Chamber of the Senedd, in debates and in holding Welsh Government Ministers to account, I have done my utmost to speak up for those without a voice. Finally, in dealing with casework, and supported by an excellent team in Newtown, Carmarthen and Cardiff, I have tried at all times to assist those who needed my help.
Welsh Liberal Fightback
Last Thursday, we succeeded in building the Welsh Liberal Democrat Regional List vote across Powys to 13,811, higher than when I was returned to the Assembly in 2011, and retained a strong second place in Ceredigion. However, in other parts of the Region, the fact that our fight-back is still in its infancy meant that the Seat eluded us this time. I congratulate my friends and Mid and West Region colleagues Joyce Watson (Labour) and Simon Thomas (Plaid Cymru) who return to the Assembly. Finally, my very best wishes and congratulations to Neil Hamilton (UKIP) and Baroness Eluned Morgan (Labour) on becoming AMs for the Region.
The excellent Liberal Democrat local government results across England and the strong recovery of our Scottish Parliament colleagues remind us of the cyclical nature of political fortunes. In this National Assembly Election, despite having the inspirational leadership of Kirsty Williams, and being acknowledged as the highest performing Assembly Group over the past five years, it is clear that we found ourselves at a difficult point within that electoral cycle. I welcome the news that my friend Mark Williams has stepped up as Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, as successor to Kirsty. It is clear to me that she will remain one of the most significant figures in the new Assembly - and an embodiment of Liberal values.
Debt of Loyalty and Gratitude
I remain privileged to represent my home town of Talgarth on Powys County Council, and recommit myself to working for the people to whom I owe an immense debt of loyalty and gratitude. In the last few days, I have received so many messages from people, across the boundaries of Region and Party - but none more numerous or touching than from my own community.
Whilst I am confident that our day as Welsh Liberal Democrats will come again in Parliamentary and Assembly terms, there is no greater privilege than representing the place where you grew up, and the people that you know best. Focussing on that - and on working to keep our Country within the European Union in the forthcoming Referendum - will be my challenge in the time to come. If anyone should wish to get involved, please don't hesitate to contact me on: 07703 112113, by email to email@example.com, via Facebook, or Twitter @WilliamPowell2016.