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Six contenders for Elgin City North in Moray Council local government elections

By Chris Saunderson

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ELGIN City North is a six horse race, with only three set to win seats in the Moray Council chamber come the finish line.

Voters will go to the polls on May 5.
Voters will go to the polls on May 5.

A former senior Labour councillor is bidding for a return to local government,while a former senior education official will look to begin a new role on the other side of the chamber.

The other four candidates are looking to secure a seat at the first time of asking.

Here, in their own words, we feature the candidates:

Neil Alexander - Scottish Liberal Democrats

Scottish Lib Dem Neil Alexander.
Scottish Lib Dem Neil Alexander.

I’m Neil, I’m 27 and I was brought up to believe in freedom, fairness, and equality for all - three values that are in our LibDem constitution, and you can’t find with any other party.

I will put local services first; this election is not about your views on independence. There’s a reason LibDem councillors when elected stay elected - we deliver for our communities.

I play rugby locally for Moray RFC, this is my home and I have bled for it.

If I’m lucky enough to represent you, I will propose increased funding for local community groups, giving all residents more things to do in the Elgin area.

I will also propose new schemes that work with local businesses to give our young people more reasons to shop locally.

I will put Elgin first, and not put time into defending corruption at the top of Scottish and UK politics.

Amber Dunbar - Scottish Conservatives

Amber Dunbar, who is standing for the Conservatives in Elgin City North.
Amber Dunbar, who is standing for the Conservatives in Elgin City North.

I was born and raised in Elgin and it really is my favourite place in the world. I grew up in a family who owned small local hospitality businesses – Enrico’s and The Lido Café – and got to meet so many local people.

As I got older, I saw the ways the community has been affected by centralisation by the SNP Scottish Government, such as going all the way to Aberdeen for what should be routine health care. I think that is unacceptable.

I want to dedicate my time to campaigning for and actioning improvements to the community as well as helping people on an individual level.

Throughout my campaign I have already contacted the council and police on a behalf of a number of residents in order to find a solution to issues.

If any Elgin City North resident has any concerns they want to raise I will be more than happy to help.

Jérémie Fernandes - Scottish National Party

SNP candidate Jérémie Fernandes.
SNP candidate Jérémie Fernandes.

I’m delighted to be standing for the SNP in Elgin City North.

The council election on 5th May couldn’t be more important.

People in Elgin are facing huge challenges as we try to recover from the pandemic, and cope with the Tory’s cost of living crisis.

We need compassionate councillors who understand the issues facing local residents and businesses.

I’m standing because I want to stand up for our community and to protect the services we care about - our libraries, leisure centres, and schools.

The Tories have a track record of making swingeing cuts for ideological reasons rather than try to work with others for the good of the people of Moray.

The SNP has got the Council’s finances back on track and worked hard to protect local services.

I want to continue that good work and pledge to be a strong voice for the people of Elgin.

Rebecca Kail - Scottish Green Party

Scottish Green candidate Rebecca Kail.
Scottish Green candidate Rebecca Kail.

I‘m standing as a candidate because I want people in Elgin City North to have the opportunity to vote Green. I’d like to be a voice for those who care for planet and people, and want action starting on our own doorstep.

If elected, I’m keen to ensure that Moray Council works steadily towards its goal of being carbon neutral by 2030. I’d put the most vulnerable at the heart of plans, so that all can afford warm homes, good food, and reliable public transport, and have safe streets to walk and cycle.

I’ll work collaboratively, listening, encouraging, supporting and challenging – keeping
up the momentum for change. I’ll create partnerships with low-carbon expertise that already exists in Moray.

I’m longing for a Moray that meets the needs of all its residents while ensuring our children and their children can also meet theirs. I’d love to have your support!

Sandy Keith - Scottish Labour

Sandy Keith is set to stand for election in Elgin City North.
Sandy Keith is set to stand for election in Elgin City North.

Prior to stepping down as a Councillor in 2007, residents came to expect a high level of service from me. I held regular surgeries, I frequently wrote to residents, and I knocked on doors to speak to residents as often as possible. Without meaning to denigrate my successors I do not believe that we receive the same level of service from our councillors today. Knowing who your councillor is should be the norm, unlike at present.

During my three terms on the Moray Council, we completely transformed education in Moray,

delivering record investment in schools. That legacy is now being neglected – with school buildings falling into disrepair. At the same time grass-cutting and cleansing are being slashed, bin collections are becoming increasingly infrequent, libraries and local facilities are being closed, and care in the community is struggling to keep-up with demand. It’s clear that the Council needs local representatives who are willing to speak-out against these failings.

Graham Jarvis - Independent

Independent Graham Jarvis.
Independent Graham Jarvis.

I have been fortunate to have lived in Elgin since 1987, having moved from Fife to work in the community centre.

My professional background is in community development and my final job with Moray Council was acting corporate director (Education and Children’s Services). I have also worked for Education Scotland as an associate assessor inspecting education provision around Scotland.

I have been involved in several community organisations including Moray Roadrunners, Glen Moray Choir, Elgin Community Council and Moray Foodplus.

Working and living in the local community puts me in a unique position to represent Elgin City North.

Being an independent councillor I would represent the views of local people and organisations, not party officials elsewhere.

I would work with all other councillors to make a difference and help shape the future of Elgin.

My Priorities are: Increase funding for health and social care; Improve educational attainment; Improve road safety; Repair roads; Improve public transport; Full dualling to A96 and A9.

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