Arbroath election candidates have their say

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Ahead of the Scottish Local Elections on May 4, we have invited the local candidates to have their say.

David Fairweather - Independent

Serving the last 10 years as a councillor who believes that local councils should be answerable to local people without political interference, I see no reason to elect councillors who have to vote by political party lines, even when they individually oppose that party objective. In council I have opposed the green bin charge and also fought and protected school music instrument tuition. Positives include skate park delivered and the prospect of an ‘all-weather athletic track’ now more than a possibility. Local clubs helped with funding and over 1000 constituents helped with housing, planning, roads and general problems. My committee membership is one of the largest within Angus Council. I hope in the last 10 years I have shown my commitment and ask constituents from Arbroath West, Letham and Friockheim ward for their continued support.

Alex King - SNP

Alex King is a long serving, experienced councillor, who has used his professional skills as a chartered management accountant to good use in the council over many years. Since 1984, until very recently, Alex served as either the council’s finance convener or as SNP finance spokesman. In that finance convener role, Alex was the driving force behind the ten year plan for the Arbroath Schools Project, which will see the rebuild or refurbishment of all the primary schools in Arbroath. As the council election approaches, two primary schools have been already been replaced and plans are well developed for the rebuild of a further four primary schools. Alex is standing for re-election to see that Arbroath Schools Project through to completion. Since 2012, Alex also served as depute provost and, following the death of Provost Helen Oswald, Alex was recently elected as Provost of Angus by the unanimous vote of all his fellow councillors.

David Lumgair - Scottish Conservative & Unionist

This is the fifth local election I have been involved in. I have been delighted to have served as a local councillor for over 18 years.

I have been actively involved in the area all of my life.

I work in the family farm business and for over 35 years have been an elder of Letham Church.

Although I am a staunch member of the Scottish Conservative & Unionist Party, I will try to keep politics out of decision making.

I am determined to fight for what is right for the local area and I maintain my policy of listening to your views and concerns and I will always be readily available for consultations.

I very much hope that with your support I will have the privilege of continuing to represent you. I pledge to work hard on your behalf to ensure that Arbroath West, Letham & Friockheim remains an excellent place to live.

Richard Moore - Lib Dem

I’m a Yorkshireman by birth, and a Scottish resident by choice.

In my professional life I’m an accounting technician.

I also gained a wide knowledge of planning and licensing as a local councillor.

I’m a committed advocate of environmental protection and recycling.

We all share the same environment and we have a duty to leave a healthy planet for future generations.

Since I moved to Angus in 2011, I’ve noticed there’s sometimes a need for challenge in the way the area is served.

We need to examine how all council services are delivered, from social care to waste collection.

We must look for local ideas to make services more effective, and improve them wherever possible.

Donald Morrison - SNP

Since first elected in 2007, I have always been fully accessable, putting the community first, supporting individuals, voluntary groups, working with all councillors. Over the last five years, as convenor of communities, I am proud to have seen a new social housing building programme in place and improvements to the existing housing stock. I am also keen on the possibility of new rental housing options. I worked with Voluntary Action Angus setting up Care About Angus (CAA), a non-profit social enterprise, which retained tenancy support officers in sheltered housing complexes and also the Home Help service. CAA has been a huge success in the first year with plans to expand further into the community. It is a huge privilege to serve Arbroath, villages and outlying areas and I wish to continue helping communities empower themselves, increasing the number of community led groups and local social enterprises.

Brenda Durno - SNP

My name is Brenda Durno, councillor for Arbroath, East and Lunan Ward since November. I am known to be a very dependable and self motivated individual and as an owner of several successful businesses and a director of the furniture recycle project, I am used to making decisions and working hard to achieve goals. I feel very strongly about environmental projects and enjoy working with local organisations, and community projects. I have enjoyed helping the Dementia Centre and I aim to encourage more activities with all generations in clubs and centres in our area. I am deeply concerned about waiting lists for housing in our area and have therefore been discussing future housing options with our council Housing Team and working with the Empty Homes Initiative, which renovates and rents out empty properties. Helping our communities to make Arbroath a better place to live is my number one passion.

John Ruddy - Labour

Angus Council must not be a conveyor belt for cuts.

This election isn’t about independence either - it should be about our local services and what is best for Angus.

I will prioritise tackling the big challenges that affect our communities - improving and expanding our housing stock so that everyone has a decent home to live in; ending the educational attainment gap between the richest pupils and the rest; and work to end the cuts to our public services such as the changes to the community care alarms.

I will stand up for you and will think of new ways to deliver on your behalf.

We need a council that’s about doing things with people.

So, please give me your first preference on May 4.

Kevin Smith - Independent

I’m a former Royal Marine Commando, deep sea diver, High Street retailer, businessman, event organiser and council clerical officer so have gained a vast amount of experience which will be invaluable as a councillor. My latest job is at JourneyCall, where I’m employed as a call centre operator, using my communication and problem solving skills! I have an HNC in Accounting and Degree in Management, and have travelled the world gaining valuable experience of life! Last year I re-launched the Community Council and became chairperson, in the hope of giving power back to the people. We were then able to release funds for the Fireworks, make donations to the Athletics Arena, Hero’s Parade and Arbroath Academy’s Rwanda appeal. I’m also the local neighbourhood watch coordinator.

I believe important local issues should be dealt with at ‘street’ level.

Vote for a people’s politician.

Mark Smith - Lib Dem

I have lived in Angus since childhood and currently work as a delivery driver and freelance cartoonist.

I am a committed campaigner on mental health and animal welfare issues, and I am also a member of the Scottish Wildlife Trust and the League Against Cruel Sports.

I believe the job of a local council is to make sensible decisions on behalf of the community, and to take care of those less able to manage by themselves.

I also believe that health, welfare and education should be top priorities for any council.

Lois Speed - Independent

I’m a passionate believer in social inclusion, equality and fairness. I will actively listen and reach out to those who are isolated and whose voices are not being heard. I have an HNC in Health and Social Care and I’m a graduate of Partners in Policy Making, a leadership course that has equipped me with the skills and knowledge to advocate and campaign for better treatment and social justice. However, I believe that my own life experiences have provided me with a unique insight, depth of understanding and empathy that sets me apart. I will work hard to bring people and local businesses together to build strong, caring and supportive communities. The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 has been designed to help strengthen your voice and ensure that you can participate in decision making; I will help you exercise your rights within this act. Vote Lois Speed No 1.

Derek Wann - Scottish Conservative & Unionist

I live in Arbroath with my family. I have been involved in politics locally for over six years now, campaigning first to save our court and successfully campaigning against legal highs and the shops in Arbroath, I then led the team for Better Together in Angus and stood as a candidate in the Westminster GE in 2015 and more recently the By-election for Arbroath East in Nov 2016.

It is about time that the people of Arbroath had a councillor who will stand up for them and be accessible to everyone.

We have seen the council recently close vital local services and charge for Green bin collections, whilst showing an underspend of £15 million.

It’s time for real change in Angus. Let’s make a difference together, let’s change things for the better and ultimately let’s get Angus working again.

Ian Watson

As an independent candidate for Arbroath East and Lunan, I have chosen this ward because this is where I was born and brought up, this is where my wife Lindsey and I have brought up our family and we are still here. Most people reading this will know me from the British Legion where Lindsey and I carry out a variety of voluntary duties. It’s a huge privilege to be a part of the Legion team, my past volunteer work consists of: Seafront Spectacular committee; Arbroath & Area Partnership committee; and chairman of Arbroath Community Council. Being aware of how the wheels of local government work I would fit in well as a councillor, my main priority would be frontline services, mainly supporting Unison with their fight to retain over 130 frontline jobs, also mental health issues. I am asking YOU to vote Ian Watson independent 1.

Sheena Welsh - SNP

As a sitting Ward Councillor, I have served as the convener of the Children and Learning Committee and have worked closely with members of all parties to achieve the best possible outcomes. I secured two brand new schools for Arbroath at Warddykes and Timmergreens and I have also ensured that new schools will soon be built for Ladyloan, Muirfield and Hayshead with the possibility of a new St Thomas Primary, subject to the outcome of public consultation. With a long standing interest in housing, I have helped to achieve the demolition of the eyesore blocks at Guthriehill and look forward to welcoming the modern, affordable family homes which are to be built on the site. I have also taken an active part in the life of Arbroath, including involvement with Friends of Keptie Pond, Fairtrade and Christmas Lights. I now seek your support to allow me to continue this work.