I’m Jenny Rathbone, Member of the Senedd for Cardiff Central. You first elected me in May 2011, and I am proud that you then re-elected me in 2016. Living and working in such a diverse constituency as Cardiff Central is such a fantastic experience as there is so much going on in all our different communities.
As well as being a Member of the Senedd, I am also a school governor, currently at St Teilo’s High School in Llanedeyrn. I want to ensure that schools and colleges are serving all our young people, so that every pupil is achieving to the best of their ability.
I am a firm supporter of trade unions and currently a member of Unite. As a previous shop steward, I know how important trades unions are in defending the rights of the workforce and reminding employers of their responsibilities to pay people a fair wage for a fair day’s work, as well as ensuring that no-one is bullied or discriminated against.
I have always had a big interest in politics and the fight for social justice. My great aunt, Eleanor Rathbone, was one of the first female MPs. Before being elected I worked in current affairs television for 20 years on programmes such as Granada’s World in Action and The BBC Money Programme. This gave me some experience in holding people to account for their actions and helped me identify things that need to change. Many of the stories I covered are still relevant to today’s issues, such as a Channel 4 series I produced in 1988 on the international debt crisis, as the problem of unaccountable financial institutions still needs urgent attention.
I am particularly passionate about ensuring every child gets a fair start in life. After I left the BBC, I managed an award-winning Sure Start programme. This was the most important initiative of the last UK Labour Government which re-shaped services to better meet the needs of families with children under 5, delivering services locally in the communities where families live. I have previously served on a health trust, and chaired independent NHS complaints panels investigating why things went wrong and the action required to learn from mistakes.
In the Senedd
In the Senedd, my main interest is making sure we deliver on the Well-Being of Future Generations Act (2015). That means making sure the Welsh Government and all public services are delivering on sustainable housing, transport and energy systems fit for today and future generations. The biggest issues we face in Cardiff are air pollution and obesity which are becoming increasingly deadly for our local community.
I currently sit on two committees: the Climate Change and Rural Affairs Committee (CCERA) and the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). Also, I am the Chair of the Cross Party Group on Food, which looks at a huge range of issues such as food procurement; the Cross Party Group on Gypsies and Travellers, which examines how best to support our Traveller communities; and the Cross Party Group on Women’s Health, tackling issues like endometriosis.
Also, I am the species champion for the swift, a truly noble bird, which visits Cardiff over the summer months. Just because we live in the capital city does not mean we should be deprived of wildlife and vibrant green spaces. We need many more safer walking and cycling routes so everyone can enjoy the delights of active travel.