The new Conservative Member of the Senedd for South Wales Central says he doesn’t want to forget about the Vale of Glamorgan, and wants to build his profile in the county.
Joel James was elected as the Conservative MS for the region in the Senedd election last month, and was one of 19 new faces who have joined the Welsh Parliament for the first time.
Mr James used to work for the Vale of Glamorgan MP Alun Cairns, and has family in the area, he told Bro Radio’s ‘Vale This Week’ that he wants to continue to build links in the county.
“The Vale have got an excellent regional Senedd member in terms of Andrew RT Davies, and I really want to emulate that”
“Something I’ve always twigged with regional members is their stronghold always seems to be where they’re from, for example when Leanne Wood was a regional member, her work was very much geared to The Rhondda, and then Neil McEvoy was heavily focused in Cardiff and Cardiff West.
“Although I want to work in Rhondda Cynon Taf, I don’t want to forget about the Vale, I’ve worked there for years, I’ve got family there, and I’m very much looking forward to working my socks off for it, I’m already starting to get some casework coming through, and I want to try and increase my profile in the Vale”.
Mr James was born and raised in Pontypridd, and has been a councillor on Rhondda Cynon Taf Council since 2008, when he became the first Conservative councillor on the council.
Before his venture into mainstream politics he was a school librarian at Cardiff Sixth Form College, and before that worked in a sausage roll factory.
Speaking to Bro Radio Mr James said the first month of being a Member of the Senedd had been ‘Hectic’
“It’s been stressful, hectic, terrifying as well really, one of the things that has struck me is you’re expected to know what you’re doing straight off, in terms of employing staff, getting an office, even the basics of sorting emails and social media, so it has been a fun induction.”
The new MS said one of his priorities would be “helping those who have fallen through the cracks”.
“The thing that has always motivated me is helping those people who the system doesn’t quite work for them yet, and I want to focus on helping them.
“I also want to increase the profile of the Conservatives in areas where historically we aren’t that present.
“I’m also keen to raise aspirational ambitions of residents, in terms of increasing social mobility for example, which ties in with my shadow brief I’ve now been given which is quite ranging.