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Outside the Assembly Chamber

This is an article for the Glamorgan Gazette 

Although both the Welsh Assembly and Parliament are in recess that does not mean that members of either institution are idle. In fact we are as busy as ever

As a regional Assembly Member, I have to spread my time between the four local authority areas I represent. Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend are entirely within my region but I also represent wards in Rhondda Cynon Taf as well, around Llanhari, Brynna and Gilfach Goch. This means that I get a lot of constituents coming to me with problems either at the regular surgeries I hold or through e-mail, letter or phone calls. My regional office in Swansea is very busy, not least with queries around benefits and helping people with appeals, whilst my office in the Assembly chips in but also carries out research for my contribution to high-profile meetings in committee and the Assembly chamber. In the last few months I have facilitated meetings between a group of local business people and the Minister for Economy, Science and Transport. I also had a number of meetings with building companies concerning problems they are having over-coming red tape whilst attempting to build new homes. As a result of these meetings I persuaded an Assembly Committee to hold an inquiry into obstacles to house-building. I have also met with the chair of the Trustees of the Rest Bay Hotel to discuss that building's future, and the MS Society concerning the future of a day centre they run in Swansea. I have been to a number of schools to see how head teachers are spending the extra money targeted at the poorest pupils they got as a result of a budget deal with the Welsh Liberal Democrats. I joined the Cystic Fibrosis Trust in the Assembly for an event to highlight their cause, visited the Royal Commission on Ancient and Historic Monuments to discuss a potential merger of their organisation with Cadw, went to Pembroke Dock to learn how the Waterway Enterprise Zone is operating and visited a number of organisations at the Royal Welsh Show and the Eisteddfod. In addition I have been holding meetings during recess in Cardiff Bay to discuss my private members legislation on Park Homes and to start negotiations on next year's Assembly budget. I am hoping to get the Government to focus resources on Education, the Economy and health. All of this activity helps me and other AMs to scrutinise the Government, as it enables us to see what is going on at grass roots level. It also highlights issues that need to be taken up in the Assembly. The bottom line though is that despite the fact we are in recess, AMs are as busy as ever and continuing to work on your behalf.

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