Kirsty Williams


Kirsty Williams

Infobox Politician
name=Kirsty Williams AM



imagesize=150px
birth_date =birth date and age|1971|3|19
birth_place = flagicon|England Taunton, England
office = Assembly Member
constituency=Brecon and Radnorshire
term_start =1999
term_end =
predecessor = (new post)
successor = (incumbent)
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party = Welsh Liberal Democrats

(Victoria) Kirsty Williams (born 19 March 1971 in Taunton, Somerset) is a Welsh Liberal Democrat politician, and Member of the Welsh Assembly for Brecon and Radnorshire.

Early life

Williams was born in Taunton, Somerset to Welsh parents. She spent a few years living in Somerset and Liverpool before the family moved to Bynea, Carmarthenshire when Williams was three. After being educated at the village primary school, Kirsty attended St. Michael's School in Llanelli. She attended University of Manchester where she received a BA (Hons) in American Studies, before studying at the University of Missouri. After graduation she worked as a marketing and public relations executive.

Political career

Williams joined the Liberal Party at the age of 15 and held numerous party posts in her home town of Llanelli, in the Welsh Liberal Democrats and the Liberal Democrat Youth and Students. She was Deputy President of the Welsh Liberal Democrats between 1998 and 2000.

In the 1997 General Election she contested the constituency of Ogmore coming third. For a long time she was a keen advocate of a Welsh Assembly, and campaigned hard in the 1997 referendum for the creation of the National Assembly for Wales. She was subsequently appointed to the National Assembly Advisory Group by Welsh Secretary Ron Davies.

In 1998 she succeeded in being selected as the Liberal Democrat Welsh Assembly candidate for the constituency of Brecon & Radnorshire. It was considered an astonishing achievement for a non-local female candidate to be selected for such a traditional farming constituency. However she impressed many by fighting hard for the nomination and visiting every party member, no matter how remote.

In 1999 she was successfully elected to the constituency in the first ever Welsh Assembly elections. Although there was a slight swing towards the Conservatives, her majority of 5,852 (20.0%) was good for a traditionally marginal constituency.

In her first term she made a name for speaking out on behalf of her constituents and in a role as the party's health spokesman. She also served as Chair of the Welsh Assembly Health and Social Care Committee between 1999 and 2003. It is said that her youth and good looks counted against her early on, but she soon developed a reputation as an articulate and tough but reasonable speaker. [http://politics.icwales.co.uk/pdfs/08_Assembly_Handbook.pdf]

In 2003 she defended the Brecon and Radnorshire constituency with an increased share of the vote, mainly at the expense of the Labour Party. Williams is now the party's spokesman on Education and is also Group Business Manager (equivalent to group whip). She is often touted as a future leader of the Liberal Democrat Group in the National Assembly for Wales.

In the Welsh Assembly elections of 2007, Kirsty retained the seat of Brecon and Radnorshire polling over 50% of the vote, beating Conservatives candidate Suzy Davies into second place

She is most well known for being the leading Liberal Democrat AM who stopped the possibility of a Rainbow colaition between the Lib Dems, Tories and Plaid Cymru

Personal

Williams married Richard Rees in September 2000, and they now live at his family's farm just outside Brecon in the heart of her constituency. They have three daughters: Angharad (born 2001), Carys (born 2004) and Rachel (born 2006).

Other information

*In the 2006 Welsh Yearbook Political Awards, Kirsty Williams was voted "Member to Watch 2006" [ [http://www.itvregions.com/Wales/Regional+Affairs/WALES+YEARBOOK+POLITICAL+AWARDS+2006.htm ITV Local: news, weather, entertainment and more where you live ] ]

*Her constituency colleague, Roger Williams who is Member of Parliament for Brecon and Radnorshire is no relation to Kirsty Williams.

*Williams backed Sir Menzies Campbell in the 2006 Liberal Democrat leadership election.

*Williams went to the same school as former Catatonia singer Cerys Matthews.

*In a poll at the end of 2006, Williams was voted "Sexiest female Liberal Democrat" on the award-winning blog by Stephen Tall. [ [http://oxfordliberal.blogspot.com/2007/01/sexiest-female-and-male-lib-dems-final.html A Liberal Goes A Long Way: Sexiest female and male Lib Dems - final poll results ] ]


=References=

External links

* [http://www.kirstywilliams.org.uk/ Kirsty Williams AM] official site
* [http://www.welshlibdems.org.uk/people_e_detail.asp?memberNo=167 Kirsty Williams AM] Profile at the site of Welsh Liberal Democrats
* [http://www.walesassembly.org/ National Assembly for Wales Website]
* [http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/static/uk/wales/13111.stm Profile on BBC website September 1999]

Offices held


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