I WILL put our islands first if I am re-elected to serve Shetland. That is my continuing commitment to the people of our islands. I want to energetically make Shetland’s case in the new Scottish Parliament elected on 5 May.
Reversing the cuts our schools face, reducing the pressure on family doctors, nurses and health staff and cheaper fares on transport are my priorities for Shetland.
It just cannot be right for a SNP government in Edinburgh to cut west coast ferry fares by 5 per cent yet increase ours. That is not a fair transport policy and I will campaign to have that changed.
Croft payments have been a shambles. Shetland crofters have lost all faith in their government. I have heard that everyday when out canvassing across the islands.
Why should our agriculture industry suffer because the government cannot make a computer work? This shambles has never happened before in 17 years of devolution. But it has happened under the SNP in 2016.
Local fishermen are deeply concerned by a discard ban that could cost jobs and put the industry’s future in jeopardy. I want a new government elected in May to listen to the industry and then act. Fishermen tell me the government is deaf to the sensible points being made. We need better. Seafood is our biggest industry and largest employer.
Oil and gas has been important for decades across Shetland. Many local businesses supply the industry. Oil prices at the $40 mark certainly helps the cost of filling the car but puts enormous pressure on jobs at Sullom Voe. I have met many families facing this uncertainty. The new Shetland Gas Plant is welcome. But I want BP to commit to new investment and jobs at Sullom Voe.
One of the highlights of campaigning in Shetland has been meeting young people. I want to be an open, accessible voice for all ages. 16 and 17 year olds now have the vote. I will continue to work with our local MSYP’s if re-elected. The discussions and debates at schools across Shetland are great. They keep me informed and up to date with young people’s views.
Shetland needs active, energetic and determined representation. Being Shetland’s person in Holyrood is a great privilege. I know the job. Experience matters. The greatest reward is not delivering cheaper air fares for Shetland as a government minister, important as that was.
It is the individual housing problem or chasing up a health appointment for someone. These can make a difference to people the length and breadth of the islands. That work gets me going every morning. It is the best part of a MSP’s life.
That experience makes me want to work harder for people across the islands. I will always put local people first. That is my commitment to Shetland.
This election is between me and Danus Skene’s SNP. May I ask you to support me for the active, energetic and determined case I will always make for Shetland.
Parliamentary Candidate for Shetland