Representing Shetland in the Scottish Parliament has been the greatest honour of my life. In my first speech in Parliament in September 2019 I said I was ambitious for Shetland. Who knew back then that we would be entering the 2021 elections after a year in a global pandemic which has ripped through our community.
As we emerge from lockdown and towards a brighter future, we can re-focus as we prioritise building a better, fairer, and greener Shetland.
Over the last 18 months as your MSP I have helped hundreds of people and made myself available to those who needed an answer or helping hand on Covid regulations, travel restrictions, business support, NHS queries, and much more besides. In Holyrood, I’ve spoken up for Shetland in the chamber and in committees.
In 2019 I asked the people of Shetland to put their trust in me to be their strong voice in Shetland. That trust is humbling and I treat it with respect. If re-elected I will continue to be that strong voice in Holyrood that will put Shetland first.
This election is about what we want to prioritise as islanders and as a country. I believe that recovery and rebuilding from the devastating impact of Covid-19 should come first before anything else.
There are challenges and opportunities for what Shetland needs to make a strong recovery and as a member of the Parliament’s Covid-19 committee, I have taken Shetland’s needs to the top of Government.
I believe that Shetland deserves a mental health service that means people, young or old, get the help they need when they need it from a robust and well-resourced service that meets the needs of islanders. Scottish Liberal Democrats secured additional investment of £120 million for mental health in the Scottish Budget, and £60 million to help education bounce back.
I believe that action on fixed links needs to happen in the next parliamentary term. We recognise the value of modern connectivity to ensure the mobility, sustainability, and viability of our island economy. We must get the job done for Shetland.
The next Parliament is going to be making decisions that will have an impact for generations. Covid-19 has shown what can be achieved when Government puts its mind to it. I want to see the same energy put into tackling climate change. We don’t get a second chance to save the planet and I believe Shetland has an opportunity to be at the forefront.
I hope that people in Shetland will once again put their trust in me. With a strong track record and experience, I can give our community a strong voice. I am committed to re-building from this pandemic, to put the recovery first, based on my determination and passion to continue listening and working hard on your behalf.
If elected I will focus on what you have told me are your priorities – comprehensive mental health services, a strong economy, good education, action on fixed links, better broadband, fighting climate change.
I’m ambitious for Shetland and determined that the way to achieve this is by putting recovery first.