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Here are the five candidates vying for votes in Speyside Glenlivet

Confidence is high among the major  parties in Moray as voters go to the polls in the local government elections.
Confidence is high among the major parties in Moray as voters go to the polls in the local government elections.

Sprawling from the Cairngorms National Park to within a few miles of Elgin, the Speyside Glenlivet ward geographically dwarfs all the other others in the Moray Council area.

The whisky industry, agriculture, tourism and hospitality form the backbone of the economy for the many rural communities, villages and towns that include Aberlour, Craigellachie, Dufftown, Rothes and Tomintoul.

Five candidates are vying for the three seats available.

Elidh Brown is the Green Party representative.

Elidh Brown is standing for the Green Party.

She works as partnership development lead with tsiMORAY, and is co-chairperson of Speyside High School parent council.

She has lived in Archiestown for the last 10 years and during the pandemic, along with support from the village council, helped establish a mental health project.

Ms Brown said: “We are so lucky to have amazing paths and networks here like the Speyside Way, but these could be improved and extended even further.

“We need our green corridors for so many reasons, mental health and wellbeing, nature and biodiversity, cutting harmful emissions and promoting greener active travel solutions.

“Everyone in Moray needs to be able to access affordable activities and green spaces, within walking or wheeling distance from their front or back door, or via regular cheap or free public transport provision.

“Health and wellbeing shouldn’t depend on jumping in a car to drive somewhere, or on a bus that only turns up once a week, especially not in a rural area like Speyside Glenlivet.”

David Gordon is contesting the ward for the Conservatives.

Conservative candidate David Gordon is calling for better funding to address issues in the ward including potholes, and wants to ensure the concerns of those living in Speyside Glenlivet will be raised in the council chambers and beyond.

He said: “I moved to rural Moray nearly 20 years ago. The open spaces, landscape and a more relaxed way of life were major factors in moving here, though I was busy enough when I started the Knock News magazine in 2007.

“My work as editor of a local magazine inspired me to stand in these elections.

“I participated in many local events and formed links with many local organisations and individuals during this time.

“I am not prepared to sit on the sidelines and will scrutinise all proposals and ensure that Moray residents are getting the best deal.

“Rural areas can be marginalised by governments, corporations and local authorities. I will stick up for this ward and represent it at local level.

“It is essential to cut down on interference and impositions from the Scottish parliament and let local people decide what is best for them. I will support and campaign for this where I can.”

Juli Harris is SNP candidate for Speyside Glenlivet.

Retired teacher Juli Harris is standing for the SNP. While she lives on Oran with her partner Stephen and their three dogs, Ms Harris feels she has an affinity with the ward.

She said: “I was head teacher at Rothes Primary School and I’ve lived in Orton and Craigellachie. I’ve lots of family connections with the ward historically and I’m in the ward several times a week.

“I’m standing because I think I can make a difference and I’m willing to do the best I can for the community.

“Speyside and Moray are lovely places to live and grow up, but there are things to do and that includes creating a decent economy and addressing climate change challenges.

“There’s a legacy there and we have to make things better for our grandchildren than they were when we inherited them.

“If we’re to keep and attract younger people we have to make the area an attractive place to live with good employment, things to do and good shopping opportunities

“Speyside Glenlivet is a massive area, and while there are pockets of urban areas there is a huge rural population with many living in isolation.

“I’m worried about rising fuel costs and how folk are going to be able to support and feed themselves, so we need to be working together to address poverty.”

David McHutchon is standing for Sovereignty.

David McHutchon is the Sovereignty party candidate, that is seeking independence for Scotland from the UK and the European Union.

Originally from Fife, he works in the food processing industry and is married with five children.

Mr McHutchon said: “I’ve been out going door to door speaking to people. There are a lot of community concerns and issues that matter to people. One continuing issue is the cost of living. A lot of people are struggling at the moment.

“I’ve been engaging with Dufftown Community Council and the Cabrach Trust about the saturation of wind farms in the ward. There are five developments of various degrees of progress at the moment.

“There’s constant background noise with the wind farms when they’re going, and it’s like having a loud washing machine on.

“Although I’m living in Huntly, I’m in the process of renovating an old house in the Cabrach, which has been unoccupied for almost 30 years.”

With the number of derelict properties, especially in the Cabrach, Mr McHutchon is keen for issues over land ownership to be addressed.

Independent candidate Derek Ross.

Independent councillor Derek Ross is hoping to be elected for a second time.

The retired teacher has lived in the glen of Rothes for more than 40 years and believes it is important councillors stay in the areas they represent.

He said: “I’ve had a lot of good times in the last five years and I felt it wasn’t time to throw in the towel just yet.

“What’s motivated me over that time still motivates me now, and that’s doing something for the local community.

“I’ve worked hard and gained experience, and I’ve attended community council, community association and village council meetings. I think it’s important that councillors attend these.

“Infrastructure is one of the most import issues for the people who live here. We need better public transport and better walking and cycling routes in the area, as well as better connectivity with hospitals and medical practices.

“I will be campaigning for more money for Moray because I think we’re still short changed.

“I’ve remained independent over the last five years and will remain independent through the next five years if I’m elected. Party politics is the scourge of local government.”

The vote will be held on Thursday May 5, with the count in Moray taking place in Elgin Town Hall the following day.

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