With nominations for the 2020 Welsh Young Liberals Executive now open, we reached out to Charlie Kingsbury to share his experience of being on exec.
Charlie was Vice Chair and Treasurer of IR Cymru (previous name of Welsh Young Liberals), before serving as co-Vice Chair during the 2015 GE and then co-Chair of Federal Young Liberals. During his time on exec, Charlie helped to introduce Action Weekends around the UK and rebrand the organisation. He is now Mayor of Aberystwyth, and represents Penparcau on the town's council.
Don’t forget that you have until the 8th October to get your nominations in!
How did you get involved in Welsh Young Liberals and why did you run for exec?
I first got involved with the Welsh Young Liberals at a Welsh party conference down in Cardiff. Things weren’t exactly great for the Young Liberals in Wales at that stage and there was a meeting about trying to revive it a little. It was important, I felt, having joined the party that if we wanted young voices to be heard in the party then I had a duty to put myself forward. I wasn’t actually successful the first time, but I kept on going and eventually found myself on the executive.
What was your favourite thing about being on the Welsh Young Liberals exec?
It’s incredibly hard to pinpoint my absolute favourite moments from being on the Welsh Young Liberals executive, but the elation of actively changing party policy has got to be up there. The Welsh Liberal Democrats have always been very good at listening to young voices and supporting them in putting policy motions forward to conference. Seeing that happen in practice rather than just something that is paid lip service to was utterly incredible to see for a young person newly interested in politics.
Being on the Welsh Young Liberals executive even took me to a meeting room in Portcullis House (along with Morgan Griffith-David, policy officer for the UK Young Liberals at the time) where we met with David Laws and Baroness Kramer during the coalition to develop our policy on fairer fares. The policy originated from Welsh Young Liberals and all of a sudden we were meeting with ministers about it!
How has being involved with Young Liberals helped you?
It has doubtlessly boosted my confidence and fostered a deep interest in policy and politics more generally. It really opened my eyes to how politics works and it gave me an incredible experience of what working collaboratively can achieve. I was so lucky to be a part of an amazing team during my time on the executive, and I’ve made friends that will last forever.
What advice would you give to anyone thinking of running in the by-elections?
Just do it. If you have even the vaguest interest, you should put yourself forward because it is such an amazing opportunity. It’s not a particularly big commitment and you get so much out of it. There are always people on-hand to help you out, give you advice, and be there for you. There’s no better way to get involved in politics and develop your skills than to put yourself forward for the executive.