Matt Hexter: Labour – Gabalfa

We’ve invited all the local election candidates to complete this questionnaire so you know more about the people asking for your vote on the 4th of May. We’re also compiling a list of their websites and social media accounts so you can follow them and get in touch if you have any questions.

Matt Hexter

Name – Matt Hexter
Party – Labour
Ward – Gabalfa
Twitter  – @hexter101
Facebook – GabalfaGydaiGilydd
How can people get in touch with you?, Twitter of Facebook message.

About You

Tell us about yourself

My name is Matt and I was born in Cardiff and have lived here my entire life minus a short stint studying law in London. I returned back to our incredible capital city two years to study my masters in devolution and now I work as a community liaison and caseworker in Newport. I live in Gabalfa, the place where my parents and Grandparents bought their first homes and hopefully I will do the same one day soon. I am a second language Welsh speaker and you will often see my striding round the streets of Gabalfa with my orange ‘Cymraeg’ badge. I live with my partner Chloe and we look forward to owning a home mainly so we can own a dog.

What are the biggest issues in your ward?

In Gabalfa it all boils down to roads. Whether it is parking on them, how fast you can travel down them or the holes that appear in them, Gabalfa’s main issue is its roads. Though the pressures on the roads reveal other problems. There’s a housing crisis because of which children now have to spend longer living with their parents and end up taking extra car parking spaces which would otherwise go to other local residents as well as a £12 billion shortfall in funding for local authorities from the UK Government in road maintenance. Although the pressures show on the roads, the problems go much deeper.

What’s your favourite place in Cardiff and why?

Roath Park is a gorgeous place full of my childhood memories. Whether going on a rowing boat or getting chased by the geese, there is always something to do at Roath Park. The rose garden is one of my favourite places to just sit and think, and the wild gardens have a number of fantastic bridges for playing pooh sticks. It is a perfect place for children of all ages, even grown up ones.

What do you think should be done to improve engagement in politics?

Politics for me is in everything. It is the roads we drive on to the cost of a pint of milk. The burden is on politicians both at a local and national level to remind people of that, to make politics real to people, not an abstract theory or ideology but a way of changing people’s lives for the better. As such, it is important that people feel that their voices are being heard and that political parties deliver on their promises so as not to disenfranchise people. People feel all too often we are all the same, it is our responsibility to prove that we are different and that we can deliver. Only by making people see that politics makes a difference will they become engaged.

What’s your favourite film?

High Fidelity.

If You’re Elected

What will you do to improve your ward?

The first thing I would do if elected is solve the parking nightmare for local residents. Previous administrations run by a range of political parties have not done sufficient work to ensure that if you pay for a parking permit, you get a place to park. If elected I would petition the Council’s leadership to ensure a higher percentage of parking spaces were reserved for residents. I would ensure this was done in consultation with local residents and businesses to ensure a fair deal for all who want to live and work in our wonderful area. Secondly I will fight to ensure that Gabalfa gets investment in its roads. Cardiff Labour is committed to spending £540,000 on road repairs and I will make the strongest case possible that Gabalfa deserves its fair share of that funding.

How will you communicate with residents in your ward?

If elected, I will ensure I have a number of channels of communication which remain open with all residents. I will ensure that I hold regular Councillor Surgeries all across the ward so that residents can come and discuss anything that may be affected them, I will make sure that these surgeries are advertised both online as well as via posters and notices across the ward. Additionally I will publicise my contact details and encourage communication via phone call or email or via Twitter or Facebook if the resident prefers. I will regularly attend PACT meetings with whoever is also elected as a Councillor for Gabalfa and ensure that residents are notified of when those meetings are set to take place.

What issues that affect the whole city would you like to get involved in?

I am eager to become involved in the Cardiff City Deal. The £1.2 Billion investment into our city is a fantastic opportunity to provide jobs and growth for our capital, but it will also bring its challenges alongside its benefits. I want to get involved with the city deal to ensure that it is not only the businesses of Cardiff who see the rewards of this deal, but its residents too. I want to see the investment extend beyond the city centre and the few wards that surround it, I want to see a deal that works for the whole of Cardiff and the whole of the City region.

Final Comments

What would you change about Cardiff and why?

As it appears that changing the climate of a City is a bit beyond even a councillors powers, I think that the best thing we could do to improve Cardiff would be to improve the connectivity of our City. For example if you want to go from one part of the City to another on the train, more often than not, your only option would be go into the City centre and then back out again. Having a rail service (a publicly run one at that) which allowed you to cross the city would not only be incredibly helpful for commuters and families but would prevent the over centralisation that has often been a problem in Cardiff.

Any final comments?

There are many exciting opportunities and challenges facing our city in the next few years, I hope that you can trust me to be your representative through these changing times. I promise to be an effective communicator and advocate on your behalf, fighting for the best deal for us all.

I will always stick up for Gabalfa and for Cardiff because it is my home, it would be an honour to do so as your Councillor.