Central North set for big shake-up
Fewer seats and veterans to stand down
East Kilbride Central North is set for a shake-up – with long-standing councillors choosing not to stand.
There will now be three instead of four councillors in the ward and, with Anne Maggs of the SNP and Labour’s Chris Thompson stepping down, new members are guaranteed.
The two candidates the SNP have put forward are experienced councillor Sheena Wardhaugh and new face Hugh Macdonald.
Ms Wardhaugh has been Ms Maggs’ ward partner for 10 years and depute leader of the SNP council group for the last four and hopes to retain her seat.
“I have been privileged to serve in my ward for 10 years and wish to continue to do so,” she said.
“I have been education spokesperson since the first day I was elected and look forward to closing the attainment gap and extending early years provision.”
Mr Macdonald has many years of experience in local government and an extensive social work background.
He believes his skills will support residents to ensure their care needs are assessed and met.
“Having campaigned in the area I am aware of the concerns of residents and wish to be able to represent them in achieving positive outcomes,” he continued.
“I am delighted to have the endorsement of Anne Maggs and promise to work very hard to support our people.”
Labour have gone for the same strategy with Alice-Marie Mitchell – who has been a councillor for more than two decades – and Joe Fagan.
Ms Mitchell was first elected in 1996 when the area was known as East Mains and wants to continue to help the public.
“I have taken up thousands of cases on behalf of my constituents,” she said.
“I have worked with some amazing, dedicated people to make a difference in our community – from the public servants we depend on to deliver local services to the volunteers who are the lifeblood of East Kilbride’s charities.
“For the past five years, I have chaired the East Kilbride area committee, awarding community grants and monitoring the performance of local schools and services.
“I have backed the living wage for council workers, new kitchens and bathrooms in our council housing stock and, with the recent completion of Halfmerke Primary, the rebuilding of every school in my ward. Even in tough times for our town, it is possible to change things for the better.”
Mr Fagan, who is standing for the first time, wants to help his “home”.
“The part of East Kilbride I am seeking to represent is my home,” he said. “It’s where I grew up, went to school and got my first job. It’s where I decided I could make a difference by getting involved in the community.
“I backed the campaign to save the town centre post office, I helped make East Kilbride a Fairtrade Town and now I am fighting for better bus services and investment in our railway.
“Public transport should be a public service. As a councillor, I will support new council housing and an increase in the social care budget. I will stand up to the SNP government in Edinburgh, opposing their cuts to our council and demanding a fairer deal for our town.”
Darren Clyde will be battling to claim the seat for the Conservatives and the NHS nurse has set health as his focus if elected.
“East Kilbride is a relatively healthy town but one aspect has always troubled me and that is the very definite link between poverty and sickness,” he said.
“I want to make our town the healthiest in Scotland. When I speak to the people of East Kilbride they want practical help with everyday problems.
“At council level, they want action on anti-social behaviour, roads and transport. The rail service to our town does not reflect the population size and a two-track service is long overdue.”
John Rintoul of the Liberal Democrats wants to bring a new look to an area traditionally dominated by Labour and the SNP.
“I will bring a fresh perspective and energy to a council too concentrated on a back-and-forth of two parties,” he said.
“I have lived the majority of my life in East Kilbride Central North.
“Several high-profile cases of bullying have been brought to my attention. Having only left the schooling system three years ago, I am more than aware of the issues surrounding bullying in the schools of East Kilbride. It is time the schools are held accountable.”
James Thornbury of the Greens said: “This election is about your needs. While some candidates may want to campaign on national issues beyond South Lanarkshire, our community needs councillors who will listen and act on the local needs of local people.
“Political grandstanding is not for me – I’m a candidate because I want to do the hard work that will make your life better.
“As a long-term carer for my elderly father, I know the importance of having someone to turn to when local services fall short. I want the people in my ward to have an advocate they know they can call on for help, no matter the problem – from improving refuse collection to organising assistance for health and social care.
“If you elect me I will be pushing for investment in local businesses alongside social housing and affordable childcare.”
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