Aileen serves as Minister for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform. After spending 5 years living in Brussels and working as Head of Policy for Alyn Smith, MEP, in 2009 Aileen returned home to fight the European Parliamentary elections for the SNP – almost winning an unprecedented third European seat for the SNP. The SNP won an overwhelming victory in that election.
Since 2009 Aileen has worked as Parliamentary Assistant to Michael Russell MSP for the South of Scotland and Cabinet Secretary for Education. In that role she has gained considerable insight into many of the issues that matter to people in Galloway and West Dumfries. When the opportunity arose for Aileen to fight the Scottish Parliamentary election on behalf of the people of Galloway and West Dumfries it was one she took with enthusiasm and pride.
Aileen’s career has been the ideal preparation to represent the people of Galloway and West Dumfries in the Scottish Parliament.
As Head of Policy for Alyn Smith she gained considerable practical expertise over a wide range of European policy issues that directly affect Galloway and West Dumfries including European funding, renewable energy, environmental policy, research and development, and farming and rural development. Since joining Michael Russell’s staff Aileen has become familiar with a wide range of local and national issues of concern to the people of Galloway and West Dumfries and how best these issues can be taken forward within the Scottish Government.
Aileen was born in East Kilbride. She did her undergraduate studies at the University of Edinburgh before completing her Doctorate at the University of Central Lancashire. Aileen joined the SNP in 2004 on leaving her restricted post in the Scottish Parliament. Since then Aileen has used her knowledge and experience of policy and politics to campaign for an Independent Scotland. Aileen lives in Lanark with her partner.