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As Rhodri departs the fight is on for Cardiff West's vote; For years its AM has been one of the giants of Welsh politics - but all that is about to change. In the latest of our constituency profiles, Daniel Fisher and Catrin Shi look at the candidates competing to follow in the footsteps of Rhodri Morgan.

Byline: Rhodri Morgan

WHOEVER replaces Rhodri Morgan as the AM for Cardiff West has the unenviable task of living up to one of the giants of Welsh politics.

At 70, the former First Minister is bowiDng out after 12 years in the west of the capital, during which time he has made the seat a Labour stronghold in Cardiff Bay, just as it is in Westminster.

Taking up the mantle for Labour is one of Mr Morgan's former advisors, Mark Drakeford, a Cardiff University expert in social policy.

But he will meet fierce competition from Cardiff council's deputy leader, Neil McEvoy of Plaid Cymru, and Conservative Craig Williams, councillor for Pentyrch - both of whom fought for the seat in 2007. Grangetown councillor David Morgan will stand for the Lib Dems.

Labour will be buoyed by the results of a council by-election in Riverside in March, where they captured the seat from Plaid Cymru, which had held it for six years.

But an upset isn't impossible. The Tories cut Morgan's majority in half in 2007, and they will be hoping that with Labour's most famous face out of the picture, the seat is wide open.

The constituency is comprised of hugely varied demographics - from the trendy Pontcanna suburb and leafy St Fagans, to some of the most traditionally working class parts of the capital. It is also one of the most ethnically diverse.

Dilwar Ali, 44, is a local businessman and co-founder of the Nationwide Association for Integrated Development (NAID) a charity that works with disadvantaged communities.

He fears as Government cuts take shape, the ethnic minority community in Cardiff West will be looking to their AM for support more than ever.

"The cuts will hit them hard, as many of them are on benefits," he said.

"When people first come to this country, that is when they need support groups most," he said.

"But communities also need continuing support. The Assembly needs to help small businesses as well as those who are looking for work. At NAID we appreciate the help we get from the Assembly but we need it to continue."

Richard Thomas, 29, is representative of many in Pontcanna. English by birth, he has lived in Cardiff for 10 years and works in the media.

"I can't see past Labour to be honest," he said.

"Pontcanna is quite well to-do, but it is quite artsy and liberal. I think the Tories might have the edge in some of the suburbs out of town, but round here I think most votes will be split between Labour and Plaid."

Tor[bar] Name: Craig Williams [bar] Age: 25 [bar] Family status: Living with my partner Clare [bar] Experience: Cardiff county councillor, school governor of two secondary schools and a primary school. Researcher to the leader of the opposition in Wales [bar] Pets: None yet, but Welsh springer spaniel on the way [bar] Hobbies: Rugby, real ale, walking and reading [bar] Hero: Tie between Boris Johnson and Churchill [bar] I entered politics because I want to get things done not just talk about it.

If elected I will restore confidence in Cardiff's economy - encouraging small business to grow through tax relief, protect our green spaces and free up our teachers to teach!

Plai[bar] Name: Neil McEvoy [bar] Age: 41 [bar] Family status: One daughter; engaged to be married [bar] Experience: Former modern languages teacher, first elected in 1999 [bar] Pets: None [bar] Hero: My parents/Che Guevara [bar] I entered politics because I was fed-up of the way things were/are and want to do something about it.

If elected I will fight for children to have the right to see both parents after parental separation and fight to save Cardiff's green field sites.

Labou[bar] Name: Mark Drakeford [bar] Age: 56 [bar] Family status: Married with three children [bar] Experience: Former probation officer and community worker, county councillor, cabinet special adviser at Assembly Government for 10 years, professor of social policy at Cardiff University [bar] Pets: None [bar] Hobbies: Gardening, Glamorgan cricket, music [bar] Hero: Barbara Castle [bar] I entered politics because I believe in collective action to solve the problems we face together and because political decisions shape the chances we all have in life.

If elected I will work hard to represent the residents of Cardiff West, where I've lived for more than 30 years, and develop policies which meet the needs of Wales.

Lib De[bar] Name: David Paul Morgan [bar] Age: 50 [bar] Family status: Living with partner, no children [bar] Experience: A graduate of computer studies at the Polytechnic of Wales, local government officer since 1985 at Taff Ely, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Bridgend. Liberal campaigner since 1979.

Pets: None [bar] Hobbies: Theatre, science fiction and fantasy fanatic, historical novels and rambling in the country.

Hero: Astrophysicist Carl Sagan. [bar] I entered politics because I wanted to get things done, not snipe from the sidelines.

If elected I will establish, as soon as possible, an integrated ticketing system for all-Wales transport.

FACTFILE [bar] Population: 86,102 [bar] Electorate: 64,558 [bar] Main Areas: Riverside, Pontcanna, St Fagans, Ely [bar] 2007 Result: Labour hold, 41.6% turnout, 13.8% majority [bar] Sitting AM: Rhodri Morgan [bar] Full Result: Morgan, Rhodri (Lab) 10,390, 38.6%; Williams, Craig (Con) 6,692, 24.9%; McEvoy, Neil (Plaid) 5,719, 21.3%; Goldsworthy, Alison (Lib Dem) 4,088, 15.2%

CAPTION(S):

[bar] Rhodri Morgan is bowing out as AM for Cardiff West after 12 years
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Apr 19, 2011
Words:917
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