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Kirsty Williams


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Kirsty Williams
(Victoria) Kirstyn 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.

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 became the party's spokesman on Economic Development and 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 May 2007, Kirsty was returned as Assembly Member for Brecon and Radnorshire for the third consecutive election with a majority of 5354 and more than 50% of the vote. She is currently Group spokesperson on Enterprise, Transport and Education, and continues to be Group Business Manager.

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"
  • 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.


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