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Local elections 2022: Meet your Greens

Wednesday March 30th 2022

Election-2022-Scottish-Greens

Scottish Green Party candidates clockwise from top left: Helen Armstrong, Marion Black, Daya Feldwick, Malcolm Spaven, Jillian Simon and Bill Kerr-Smith


Written by Midlothian View Reporter, Luke Jackson

The Scottish Green Party have announced their candidates for the Scottish local elections which take place on 5th May.

Helen-Armstrong-Greens

Helen Armstrong – Scottish Green Party candidate for Penicuik Ward

Helen moved to Penicuik with her husband and son sixteen years ago. She is an ecologist by training and, after many years working for various public bodies she became a self-employed consultant specialising in sustainable land use. Since she moved to Penicuik she has been actively involved in the community. She ran a campaign to try to save the playing field at her son’s primary school, she chaired the Parent Council at the primary school for three years and chaired Penicuik High School’s Parents’ Association for two years.

Helen said “I would like to see a Midlothian where: new developments fulfil the needs of local people and help build communities; local businesses, social enterprises and voluntary groups flourish; schools are well supported; fulfilling jobs are available to all; public transport, walking and cycling are promoted; the Green belt and our natural environment are protected and enhanced; renewable energy is fostered; and pollution is minimised. If elected in Penicuik, it is those principles that would underpin my work as a Midlothian councillor.”

Marion-Black-Greens

Marion Black – Scottish Green Party candidate for Dalkeith Ward

Marion has lived in Midlothian for the past 23 years, and joined the Scottish Green Party in 2014.

Originally she pursued a career in Nursing then changed to Social Work so she has a lot of experience communicating with people and identifying resources. She was a founding member of a Credit Union in Edinburgh and helped run it for many years. She has also worked with several voluntary organizations.

Marion said “I have a passion about inequality and am a firm believer in Social justice, in housing, access to medical services, State Benefits and many other areas. I cycle and do not believe that there are enough safe paths in Midlothian. I have been interested in environmental issues all my adult life and can frequently be found litter-picking from beaches, paths and roadsides.”

Daya-Feldwick-Greens

Daya Feldwick – Scottish Green Party candidate for Bonnyrigg Ward

Daya has lived with her family in Loanhead for the past 23 years and was always active in a variety of campaigns and community projects around planning, environment and improving community facilities. She is a member of her local Community Council and is their representative on the Midlothian Federation of Community Councils.

A graduate in Community Education at Edinburgh University, Daya has a lot of experience working within the community. Spearheading a local gardening project and then working for a national planning organisation has helped her to develop a deep understanding of the issues that vulnerable people and groups often face.

She said: “I am aware that planning processes do not always work for the people they are supposed to; developers’ interests frequently trump those of local communities and the environment, and this is unacceptable. We need to enact change and if elected I would like to follow up the good work of the previous Green Councillor Ian Baxter in ensuring better services and facilities for Bonnyrigg residents.”

Bill-Kerr-Smith-Greens

Bill Kerr-Smith – Scottish Green Party candidate for Midlothian East

Bill was born in Dalkeith (Gothenburg Buildings) and moved to Mayfield (Hawthorn Crescent) when he was 5. His family lived in Lime Grove for a few years before he moved to his own (council) home in Steele Avenue when he was 21. At 28 he went to work in the Middle East and afterwards had a career in London and Washington D.C. for 28 years.

Bill said “After coming home in 2012, I joined the Green Party, became Chair of the local Community Council and also of Dalkeith C.A.B. I ran, unsuccessfully, for the Council in 2014 and now run a residents forum on Facebook. I care deeply for our community and am dismayed by the impoverishment and disempowerment of our local authority, through the policies and actions of all shades of government in Scotland.

I believe the experience of returning to a home that is worse off, in so many material and societal ways, than the home I left, is the main reason I am committed to the Green Party and its values.

I believe that it is only by electing more Green Councillors and MSP’s that we will ever see the empowerment and funding of local authorities that our communities need to flourish, and I hope you will make me one of them.”

Jillian-Simon-Greens

Jillian Simon – Scottish Green Party candidate for Midlothian West

Jillian grew up in Midlothian West. She took part in Save Jim’s farm campaign, helping raise support to save the local green belt. Pre-covid, she ran her own sustainable business for 12 years and became a finalist in 2018 SEPA VIBES awards for Sustainable Business Management and Climate Adaptation. Jill is now a business manager for a local community development trust.

Jillian said “The Scottish Green Party helped secure free bus transportation for those 21 and younger, but there are still villages in Midlothian with no bus service. This needs to change. Midlothian West has a thriving football community, yet the council recently rejected an all-weather pitch. I believe a healthy society benefits everyone and helps alleviate the strain on our NHS. Therefore, as a Green councillor, I would push further for investment in an all-weather football pitch.

The current plans for an extension to the A701 will only encourage more cars on the roads and pave the way for further development of our green belt land. Midlothian needs Green councillors to scrutinise council decisions, ensuring alternative sustainable options are considered first. Midlothian council desperately needs a change in direction, that’s why at this election it is more important than ever to vote Green.”

Malcolm-Spaven-Greens

Malcolm Spaven – Scottish Green Party candidate for Midlothian South

Malcolm has lived in the Midlothian South ward for 16 years and contested the ward for the Greens in 2017. He works as a consultant for the wind energy industry and has three grown-up daughters and two grandchildren.

He was active in Moorfoot Community Council and the Midlothian Federation of Community Councils for six years, working especially on planning issues.

He set up the Stop Cauldhall Opencast campaign in 2012 and, for five years, campaigned against opencast coal in Midlothian and across Scotland.

On behalf of the Midlothian Federation of Community Councils he was a member of the Board of the Midlothian Community Planning Partnership for three years and was the Chair of the Midlothian Climate Emergency Group, set up under the auspices of the Community Planning Partnership, from 2020 to 2021.

Malcolm said “I am committed to climate and social justice and to a better future for Midlothian. Midlothian absolutely needs Green councillors to set out a vision of more and better social housing, more local jobs, and an end to the crazy ‘business as usual’ model where Midlothian’s most deprived communities see no improvement while thousands of new private houses are built with no shops, services, public transport or renewable energy.”

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