Monifieth election candidates have their say

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Ahead of the Scottish Local Elections on May 4, we have invited the Monifieth candidates to have their say.

Craig Fotheringham - Scottish Conservative & Unionist

It has been a tremendous privilege to represent the communities of Monifieth & Sidlaw since 2012. I have been the chairman of Monifieth Further Education Association since 2001 and we now have over 200 young people aged four-16 who attend evening activities each week, as well as several dozen adults. I am also the volunteer Chairman of the Angus Committee of Victim Support. I will look to protect the budget for road repairs, campaign for lower speed limits on certain roads, push to retain all rural bus services and strive to obtain an improved broadband service for the rural communities. Address the significant issue of littering, dog fouling and fly tipping across the ward. I will continue to support local community organisations and the six community councils across the ward and look forward, with your support, to representing you again after the elections.

Sheila Hands - SNP

I stood for election to this ward five years ago on the basis of fairness and equal access to services. Five years on and having just recently watched the film, ‘I Daniel Blake’, means I am more determined than ever to be a strong voice for Monifieth and Sidlaw residents. Local Government Finance over the next five years will face many challenges. Hard decisions are going to have to be made. We must not lose sight of the fact that we are dealing with people from different backgrounds and diverse communities when making these decisions. I will be promoting the need for the council to be flexible, routinely taking into account the different needs of rural areas and small borough towns.

Ben Lawrie - Lib Dem

I have lived in Monifieth my whole life. I attended Monifieth High School and then studied Social Sciences at Dundee & Angus College. I’m now studying International Relations at St Andrews where I’ve been the mental health rep on the University’s Wellbeing committee. My own struggles with depression and a desire to see mental health treated as seriously as physical health are what motivated me to get involved in politics.

Politics is at its best when it’s local people who make the decisions that affect their communities. Recently I’ve seen Angus councillors make decisions that local people are unhappy with. We’re losing our recycling centre, being charged for our green bin collections and council tax is being hiked up. If I’m elected, I want to use my knowledge of our local area to find effective solutions to local problems.

Raymond Strachan - Labour

I have lived in Angus all my working life and have taken an interest in local affairs all of this time. I am a qualified social worker and my wife and I are permanent foster carers of two lovely girls. I intend, if elected, to hold the council to account to ensure that residents are represented and get the best deal and access to the public services they are entitled to.

I believe community resources should be there to meet the people’s needs and, that is the purpose of local authorities, rather than people having to fit in with the limited resources available. I think as a result of the long austerity we have experienced over the past six years, people’s expectations have lowered to a point where they are willing to accept cuts without too much complaint believing they are the norm and inevitable.

This needs to change.

Beth Whiteside - SNP

Angus is a great place to live and I’m proud to be standing for election to represent my own ward of Monifieth & Sidlaw. I am hoping to be elected in order to contribute to the work that is involved in ensuring that the best services possible are delivered, and helping Angus remain a welcoming, fair and outward looking place for all our residents, new and old. Whether you live in one of our towns, villages or smaller communities, I will be working to find new solutions to the challenges of local government. I am particularly excited by exploring ways of implementing the Scottish Government’s commitment to handing decision-making powers back to local communities, through their Participatory Budgeting policy. This will see one per cent of the council budget devolved to communities, who will make choices locally on how it is spent. People power in action!