Leighton Andrews was first elected as the Assembly Member for the Rhondda in May 2003, winning the seat back for Labour from Plaid Cymru. His vote of 14,170 was Labour's highest in Wales. Leighton was re elected in May 2007 with Labour's highest share of the vote in Wales. Immediately prior to his election, Leighton was a lecturer at Cardiff Journalism School.
A former Head of Public Affairs for the BBC, Leighton retains an interest in the media. He has run a number of businesses and also worked in the charity world for Age Concern and the International Year of Shelter for the Homeless. In 1997 Leighton was co founder of the Yes for Wales campaign in
the referendum on devolution. He subsequently wrote the book Wales Says Yes which tells the story of the campaign to get the National Assembly.
In his first term in the Assembly, Leighton was a member of the Education, Culture and Enterprise, Innovation and Networks subject committees, the Audit committee and the South Wales Central regional committee which he chaired. His political interests include the economy, culture, housing, the media, health and social inclusion.
Following his re election in May 2007, Leighton joined the Welsh Assembly Government as Deputy Minister for Social Justice & Public Service Delivery, with special responsibility for housing issues. When the new coalition government was formed in July 2007, Leighton was appointed Deputy Minister for Regeneration, working within the Department for the Economy and Transport and the Department for Social Justice and Local Government.
He was appointed as Minister for Education and Skills, and given responsibility for the Welsh Language, when Carwyn Jones appointed his Labour Cabinet on 13th May 2011.
As a local Assembly Member, Leighton has fought for investment in the Rhondda, and the Assembly has responded, with money for the Porth Rhondda Fach Relief Road, for the new Rhondda Hospital, for community and youth facilities in many parts of the Rhondda, and investment under way or planned in new GP surgeries as well.
Leighton has stood up for the Rhondda, campaigning hard with the Burberry workers in Treorchy, for example. Film star Ioan Gruffudd has praised Leighton's commitment to his constituency, saying "may I take this opportunity to tell you how much I admire your relentless work to protect the quality of life and welfare of your constituents".
Away from politics, Leighton is a season ticket holder at Cardiff City FC and watches local Rhondda sports teams as well. He enjoys the theatre, cinema and reading. Leighton is married to Ann and they have two children.