Galashiels and district Four councillors

Sandy Aitchison

Borders Party

I live in Stow, and know the people and ways of Galashiels and the Gala Water well. Local knowledge, both yours and mine, is vital, especially when facing the huge changes proposed for our valley in the coming years.

In a time of diminishing budgets it would be foolish to make glittering promises, but I can pledge hard work, quick replies, and a keen eye to make sure public money is sensibly spent, and to see that Galashiels and District gets at least its fair share.

I will continue to be a link between the public and the many excellent council staff I have worked with, not just for day-to-day matters, but planning ahead for a Borders which makes best use of all its special qualities.

The Borders Party will fight for all that’s best in the Borders, a fight I’ll gladly take up for you if called upon again.

Bill Herd

Scottish National Party

I have been a councillor now for a great number of years and my aim has always been to serve my community to the best of my ability.

If elected to my home town I will promise you that I will work for you and with you. We are needing more play areas for our children and we need to tackle the empty shops in the town. I will address the housing shortage, look into the situation for the need of jobs for the young, and of course there are many more issues to look into.

At the election on May 3 you will be able to vote for more than one person and I hope that you will give John Mitchell and I your votes. Voting Herd 1, Mitchell 2, or vice-versa will ensure that two SNP councillors will be elected for the Galashiels and District Ward.

Rick Kenney

Scottish Liberal Democrats

Having retired after a number of years of working as a senior local government officer, managing multi million pound budgets, I want to put my knowledge and experience to use for local people and families.

My top priorities are jobs and education for our young people who are our future. Support for small businesses and key sectors like textiles, tourism and agriculture; giving work experience and training for school leavers; striving to have a new secondary school built, and improving access to sports and community facilities are all essential. These are the issues that people care about.

Council budgets are challenging, but I will strive to ensure that services necessary for those most in need are maintained – and improved.

The new council requires all parties and interests to work together for the good of the Borders and, if elected, I will do my utmost to improve peoples’ lives.

John Mitchell

Scottish National Party

Having done this job for 22 years I still feel passionate about helping people resolve difficulties. I pursue problems brought to my attention whether at one of my regular surgeries, by email, telephone, meeting “in store” or wherever. If re-elected I shall continue to be a full time councillor as I believe the job deserves nothing less. Locally we would re-establish democratic committees at Scottish Borders Council, moving meetings around the region. Nationally the SNP is keeping free bus passes, has improved policing, frozen Council Tax and is protecting the vulnerable and I support these measures. I was delighted to help bring the railway back to Gala and am pushing for it to go on to Carlisle. Bus services need improved. I am working at getting mountain biking facilities to Gala. I will try to bring prosperity to our towns and villages. Vote Mitchell and Herd SNP 1 and 2 or vice-versa.

Robbie Tatler

Scottish Labour Party

I AM 21 and have lived in the Scottish Borders for most of my life. I currently teach part-time at a community music school. As an active political campaigner for over six years, I know the challenges people from all walks of life face, particularly at this difficult time. The main issues I’m campaigning on include opportunities for young people, ensuring they are entitled to a proper living wage. Young people need a champion on Scottish Borders Council to represent their needs, and as a young person, I’m well placed to be this champion. I’m also fighting against cuts in support and services for people with disabilities, including carers’ support services. I’ll also defend and enhance support to older people in the community and ensure they have a strong advocate highlighting their needs in the decision-making process.

Bill White

Independent

I am chairman of Galashiels and Langlee Community Council, chairman of Gala in Bloom, a founder member of the Waterways Group and sit on the Inner Relief Road Working Group. Having lived in the Borders all my life and Galashiels for 38 years, I have a good understanding of what goes on in the town as well as elsewhere.

Priorities for Galashiels are a new primary and secondary school; parking for short stay shoppers and ensuring the new transport interchange caters for all travellers and incorporates a tourist information centre.

There has to be effective co-operation between the council, housing associations, private landlords and builders over rented and affordable housing. A new conference/theatre complex is needed to upgrade from the Volunteer Hall and a new national group hotel is also needed. Our elderly and vulnerable people are under severe pressure through government cuts and there needs to be in increase in sheltered and retirement homes.

Also standing: Fiona Lackenby, Scottish Conservative and Unionist