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Elgin City South candidates make their case for local government elections

By Jonathan Clark

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PROSPECTIVE councillors in the Elgin City South ward have put forward their case for election.

Six candidates will compete in the ward, with three to be elected by the public at the Local Government Elections on Thursday, May 5.

Two of these – Labour's John Divers and the SNP's Graham Leadbitter – are seeking re-election.

The new candidates are Peter Bloomfield (Conservative); Bernard Salmon (Liberal Democrat); Michaela French (Independent) and Paul Briggs (Independent).

The results from Elgin City South in 2017.
The results from Elgin City South in 2017.

Michaela French - Independent

Independent candidate Michaela French.
Independent candidate Michaela French.

I am not standing on a party political basis, there’s another time and place for that.

I believe local authorities need to focus on the community they serve, not on their own personal political party beliefs.

I’m standing for accountability, honesty and openness, listening, taking action and resolving issues.

Your concerns and needs are what Moray Council is there for, it’s supposed to be an interactive partnership, not about party political issues.

I believe Moray Council needs to be more accountable and answerable to the community; help me make this happen.

I now work as a local Avon Lady and in a former life held the post of a Hotel General Manager.

Paul Briggs – Independent

Independent candidate Paul Briggs.
Independent candidate Paul Briggs.

My family and I live in Elgin South, and I really enjoy embracing local community projects and value the people in our community.

When Covid and lockdown happened I was furloughed and decided to help people who needed support, I.E., getting prescriptions, shopping etc.

Some people asked had I ever considered standing for council, I gave it some thought, but when I was working in Antarctica for four months, I really thought about our area and what do our councillors do mainly (Labour and SNP). D

o you ever see them involved in the community unless it’s time to vote, and they have been in for decades and what has been achieved? Nothing comes to fruition!

Conservative was never seen, and the new candidate is from Lossiemouth, not particularly involved in the area. Many people in the community are fed up with votes being taken for granted, so a vote for Paul Briggs will be one to start change and get things done together.

Bernard Salmon - Liberal Democrat

Liberal Democrat candidate Bernard Salmon.
Liberal Democrat candidate Bernard Salmon.

If elected to Moray Council, I will seek to support local businesses by backing much-needed improvements to transport links and infrastructure.

The council should also work alongside partners such as Moray College UHI to develop people’s skills to ensure everyone has access to good quality and well-paid jobs in the area.

The council can also do more to tackle issues relating to climate change. We need better insulation for homes and more investment in things like solar panels and electric vehicle charging points.

We also need to continue to invest in Moray’s people. Having been an unpaid carer and charity volunteer, I know the vast contribution made by carers, volunteers and community groups across Moray and we need to consider what additional support we can give. We also need to use the Moray Growth Deal to invest in our educational, cultural and sporting facilities.

John Divers - Labour

Labour candidate John Divers.
Labour candidate John Divers.

For 23 years, I have worked hard to represent the interests of residents of Elgin City South. People know my values and what I stand for.

As Moray’s longest-serving councillor, I have seen many highs and many lows, and recent years have been an undoubted low for most of us.

As an ex-Navy man, however, I believe that local representatives possessed of a hard work ethic and a duty of public service can make a real difference to our community.

Local representation isn’t just about fixing potholes and streetlights – councillors should be fighters for their local area.

In my first term as a councillor, I fought for a flood alleviation scheme for Elgin, and I have been fighting ever since: for a bypass for Elgin; or to save RAF Lossiemouth; or for millions of pounds of investment in our town centre. I’m standing again because I want to keep on fighting on behalf of Elgin.

Peter Bloomfield - Conservative

Peter Bloomfield, the Conservative candidate for Elgin City South in the upcoming elections.
Peter Bloomfield, the Conservative candidate for Elgin City South in the upcoming elections.

My name is Peter Bloomfield and I’m your local Conservative candidate for the Elgin City South.

Representing our area on Moray Council is a serious job. It means getting to grips with the finances of the council. It means ensuring Council Tax payers receive value for money.

It means providing effective representation for the people of the ward. Every vote will count in this election, and your vote could well decide whether or not I’m elected to serve as a Moray Councillor.

The issues of illegal parking in the town centre in and around Batchen Street, potholes in the roads that get temporary repairs that only last days, schools in particular I understand the quality of school meals are problems that need to be addressed, this is why I am standing for council.

Councillors are there to represent you and if elected I will never forget that.

Graham Leadbitter - SNP

Graham Leadbitter, SNP candidate and Moray Council leader. Picture: Daniel Forsyth
Graham Leadbitter, SNP candidate and Moray Council leader. Picture: Daniel Forsyth

I am privileged to have represented Elgin South as a Councillor for 15 years and it has been a particular honour to be Leader of the Council since 2018.

I am standing because I have the energy, commitment and track record representing Elgin South effectively on Moray Council. I also have a record of strongly representing Moray, nationally with organisations and governments in Edinburgh and London.

Whether it’s a local issue or making the case for more funding and building positive relationships with others, I am committed to doing my very best for Elgin and Moray.

In the coming months we will need strong focus on supporting people struggling with the cost of living from rising food and energy bills, and on getting local economies like Elgin City Centre on their feet after a rough period.

I enjoy challenges and will not shy away from issues because they are difficult.

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