A lot has happened since I became Paisley’s first member of the Scottish Parliament. We have all been through a lot both personally and in the political world.
That day in May 2011 was one of the best days in my life as together we led the way for the SNP in Renfrewshire and I became the first SNP Parliamentarian ever in our county.
It is a day I look back on with great pride, but every day since has been an honour to represent our town in our nation’s Parliament.
Paisley, its people and the further improvement of our town, will always be my first priority. We have had many challenges along the way but I think there has been a positive move forward.
I have always been positive about Paisley as we faced these many challenges. Many politicians want to go down the negative route. They lose themselves in the negativity and do not offer anything of substance for us to go forward.
We still face the same challenges from opposition parties that are light on ideas and want to bring our town down.
I will continue to promise you that I will do all I can to represent our great town to the very best of my ability and in a positive manner, looking at ways to promote and better our community.
This year’s campaign comes on the back of one of the most challenging years we have faced.
2020 was all about COVID-19 and how we deal with this global pandemic. It has been a challenge for everyone, but particularly for those that have lost family members.
There is now hope, as our Scottish Government is rolling out the vaccinations that will take us towards some resemblance of normality.
As we move forward, we need to ensure that we have serious politicians in Holyrood who will deal with the many economic challenges we face.
The Scottish Government and our First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, have shown they have the ideas and ability to take us forward.
I have worked with Cabinet Secretaries and Ministers to ensure that Paisley is not forgotten about.
Unfortunately, we face opposition party candidates who purely look for their next headline instead of trying to solve a problem. They look for the easy way out and tell people what they want to hear instead of what they need to hear. We live in very serious times and we can do without these chancers.
2021 is about much more than re-electing me as Paisley’s MSP. It is about choosing a different way of working, a new way forward for Paisley and for Scotland.
When I joined the SNP in 1987, it was to ensure that no other generation suffered at the hands of a Westminster Government that they did not vote for.
I wanted independence so that we could take responsibility for Scotland and build the kind of future country for our children that we want. Now I am middle aged and I‘m wanting to build that future for my grandchildren.
It is my belief that independence for Scotland is the only way we can make that type of change.
It has always been my belief, but now we are closer than we have ever been. That is why this year’s Scottish Election is crucial – it is our stepping stone towards that future.