My name is Jim Johnston and I have lived for over 30 years in island communities.
Until last August I had been the Head Teacher of Whalsay School. During this time I also spent two years as a Senior Education Officer working in Hayfield House.
I have been the chair of several local and national voluntary bodies. I am a Fellow of The Royal Society of the Arts and I am the current chair of Shetland Arts.
With my wife, Marilyn, I ran a successful restaurant and tearoom on Harris until the birth of our son, Ross. I have been an auxiliary coastguard ending up in charge of the unit.
Here are some of the things that we can be proud of in Shetland:
* Excellent roads, sports facilities and village halls
* First class educational provision
* Superb care for the vulnerable in our community
The new council has to pick up existing policy decisions and take them forward. I want to be part of this work. I am passionate about local politics and I feel that we could do a lot better here in Shetland with the resources that we have.
It would be an honour and a privilege to represent you in the council.
I will do everything that I can to maintain your confidence in me as your councillor.
* answer all of your telephone calls, emails and letters that you send;
* act as your advocate if you need me to be with you when you have problems with council departments;
* work with a strong and effective team of councillors to provide leadership through the difficult years ahead.
We are in a very strong position regarding the constitutional changes planned by the Scottish Government.
Let us be bold and ask for the following:
* a 12 mile exclusion zone around our islands for the sole use of our fishing fleet;
* special tax concessions (similar to the Channel Islands) to attract inward investment.
This is a very important service in the North Isles, it is our road to work. The Ferry Service is under review just now.
When the report comes out in September, I will:
* push to get a resolution to the problem in Whalsay;
* protect the ferry services in Yell and Unst.
If the council is serious about fixed links then I want to be part of the talks to get the best deal for the islands.
I have been a head teacher and I have worked in Hayfield House so I know how both sides operate. The future of Rural Education is in the hands of the Scottish Government.
I believe that our children deserve the best possible education, in a school fit for purpose, as close as possible to their home. If this is the conclusion of the Governmental report then the resources need to follow this decision to make it to happen.
Locally, I believe that our school communities have had appalling treatment over the years. Attack after attack have left communities exhausted. This is a poor way to treat people. In Council I will do all that I can to protect our schools.
Despite what has happened in the last five years, Shetland is still the wealthiest council in Scotland, we are the only one that remains “debt-free”.
We must make sure that the new Council:
* gives value for money;
* properly looks after the Shetland financial reserves;
* delivers the quality services that people need;
* creates jobs that are so important to our economy.
I feel that we need to look at the impact of the agreed cuts before implementing them. Savings have to be made but let us do it sensitively over time.
The Scottish Government has decided that a wind farm is to be built on Shetland. Assuming it goes ahead as planned we need to use the income from this wisely.
There could be as much as £20m coming in annually to the Charitable Trust.
I would like to see some of this invested in:
* insulating homes, driving down energy costs and removing people from fuel poverty;
* creating employment opportunities outside Lerwick;
* increasing remote working in the Isles.
Twenty two councillors working in isolation cannot achieve much so we need to pull together. This means creating a new, united structure for governing Shetland in the new council.
Let us work together and present a united Shetland face to the outside world.
My Pledge to You
If I am elected, I will:
* act as a responsible councillor, listen to the views of my constituents and provide community leadership when it is needed;
* gather together the relevant evidence and information before coming to a decision as fairly and honestly as I can;
* always act in a transparent and open way;
* debate strongly in chamber for sensible decisions and have the courage to see them put into practice.
Your vote is vital. Cast it wisely and vote for me on 3 May this year.
Phones: 01806503342 or 07717243877
Address: Laarsund, Hillswick, Shetland. ZE2 9RW
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