PLAID Cymru’s candidate for the new Carmarthenshire constituency is hoping to use her experience of what is needed on a local level to help Carmarthenshire get what is needed for residents from Westminster.

Councillor Ann Davies currently represents the Llanddarog ward on Carmarthenshire County Council. The mother-of-three comes from a farming background and has been involved in politics since 2017.

Her primary motivation was to provide opportunities for the citizens of Carmarthenshire and Wales.

When her daughters finished university, she was spurred on to run for county council, confident that the time was right.

She said: "I think I'd been asked several times about standing for county council, and I hadn't done it up until that point because I wanted to see the three girls through university, for them to have the opportunity earlier in life that I hadn't had." Ms Davies has a farming background and worked in the music service before going to university later in life before helping her youngest daughter set up her own early years nursery.

The councillor has been an active member of the Plaid Cymru party since she was 18-years old, believing fiercely in Welsh self-governance.

South Wales Guardian: The councillor will be standing for Plaid Cymru to represent Carmarthenshire.The councillor will be standing for Plaid Cymru to represent Carmarthenshire. (Image: Plaid Cymru)

She said: "Wales is more than able to look after its own resources and that we need to do that, we need to be able to do that," She added, linking this belief to the ongoing situation with the Towy valley pylons.

In 2022, she was re-elected to the county council, defeating a Liberal Democrat opponent.

In 2021, she took up the role previously held by Kevin Campbell, overseeing rural affairs and community cohesion as a cabinet member, and later extending to planning policy, and kept this position after the 2022 election.

Within no time, she was managing the council machinery adeptly and basked in the learning curve.

"It's been a fabulous learning curve," she said emphatically.

Then in January last year, an issue arose that demanded immediate attention - plans for the instalment of pylons in the Towy valley by a Scottish company, Green Gen.

The Scottish businessmen were allegedly executing this mechanically without proper benefit for the Welsh residents.

She said: "This was a huge machine that was coming down from Scotland," and lamented it was a "money-making exercise really, for this company rather than for the benefit of the people."

Acting quickly, she and her community organised public meetings and formed campaign groups not just in one village, but multiple ones - Llanarthney, Llandeilo, Llandovery, Hundred House and Montgomeryshire.

They were determined to resist the pylons, instead calling for undergrounding, and assert their control over Welsh resources.

It was the pylon campaign that first got Ms Davies to think about standing to be an MP. She said: “I think, really, if I’m honest, it was from this campaign that people last summer started asking me to stand. It wasn’t on my agenda, I have to be honest, but I’ll do this.

“I think we need a strong local voice in Westminster. We need somebody that understands camaraderie, people, the whole of Carmarthenshire, that understands its people and is perfectly willing to stand up there and fight for what we need and what’s important for us.

“I’m not afraid of taking on these people if it’s what’s best for us.”

Ms Davies has highlighted a number of concerns that she would raise with the UK Government including the Broadway and Voneus broadband plans, with Voneus recently backing out of their promise to continue the work of Broadway after taking the company over. She said it’s holding these people to account that is vital. “It’s holding people like that to account. People who come along, promise the earth and then, sorry, I’ve just looked at the maths. It’s not worth me doing this And that type of behaviour is not good enough.”

South Wales Guardian: Ann says her launch event in Llandybie went well.Ann says her launch event in Llandybie went well. (Image: Plaid Cymru Sir Gar)

Ms Davies is hoping that what she has learnt – about the council as an institution, how the public face of the council works and much more in terms of local government, will help her with her campaign to represent the county of Carmarthenshire in Westminster. “I think the last seven years, I’ve learned so much, I’ve met so many people, and that’s not something that you gain overnight, is it?

“It’s something that you develop and you build upon. And I will certainly be using my experience, certainly since I’ve been in cabinet over the past three years, I’ll be using every ounce of that experience to get what Carmarthen deserves and needs.”

She is also hoping to ensure that Wales gets its share of the Barnett formula. “Even if I just mentioned HS2, if I just mentioned that that would bring two billion pounds into the Welsh Government, which would then come down to us [the councils] under the formula for county council, but also, as well, last week there was a call for an extra £600million for county council sin England. Well, if that comes through, if we have the Barnett formula equivalent for Wales from that, if that comes off for England, then that would allow us to have and extra £9million within Carmarthenshire County Council.

“It’s been ten years of austerity in command, as it has with all councils, and what we’re cutting all the time, things that are so vital for us. It’s usually highways and the re-tarmacking, and I get more complaints about potholes than anything else, but it’s simply because we don’t get the money down from Westminster that we should be having, and it affects people’s everyday lives.”

She also highlighted how the lack of decent and reliable public transport means that more people are using these roads which is making the roads worse – and more noticeable. “Getting a fair funding deal for Wales has got to be a top priority. It has to be, no question. Digital connectivity and social justice [are top priorities too], definitely.”

It’s also been a positive start to Ms Davies’ campaign. After a launch event in Llandybie (the Trelech event had to be postponed due to the weather but is now to be held on February 22), she said: “I came from there and I was buzzing and I’m thinking ‘God I’m too old to be buzzing,’ but I was. And I couldn’t sleep until perhaps two in the morning, as everything was going through my head, how well it had gone, how well I’d been received, the questions we’d had afterwards, it was really fantastic.

“I’ve started actually knocking on doors with Adam and with Kevin Campbell. I’ve had an amazing response. When you put yourself up for these situations, you have no idea really how it’s going to pan out. You just have to go with what your gut tells you and what feels right. And it felt right for me to put my name forward and I’ve had such a lovely experience up until now and I really hope it will continue. Well I’m sure it will continue, whatever the result.”