Scottish Labour Leader Kezia Dugdale MSP was the special guest at the official launch of East Lothian Labour's local election campaign.
Iain Gray MSP and Councillor Willie Innes also spoke at the launch, held at Prestonpans Labour Club, as candidates, members and supporters came together to mark the formal start of the campaign, following the close of nominations on 29th March.
Ms Dugdale spoke about the crucial work undertaken by Labour councillors on behalf of the communities they represent, particularly in defending them against years of SNP government funding cuts. She also backed East Lothian Labour to buck the electoral trend and win again here in May.
Cllr Innes highlighted some of the many achievements of the Labour-led administration since 2012, including putting in place a Local Development Plan to deliver 2500 new affordable homes, new business and industrial units in Haddington and Prestonpans, the state-of-the-art care home in Tranent, and keeping the pressure on the NHS and Ministers to deliver the county's new community hospital.
Mr Gray spoke about Labour's victory in East Lothian last year and the fact that it proves local people know that only Labour will stand up for East Lothian and defend its interests. He contrasted this with the failure of local SNP councillors to oppose government policies which have damaged the county, such as the closure of Haddington's court and repeated overturned planning decisions.
Speaking after the launch, Councillor Willie Innes said:
"While we have had all of our candidates in place since January and been campaigning hard in local communities for months, this launch marked the official start of our local election campaign.
"We were very pleased to be joined by Kezia Dugdale. She underlined the important role Labour councillors play in defending local communities from funding cuts imposed by the SNP.
"Our promise at this election is that Labour councillors will always stand up for East Lothian's interests and protect vital services from cuts, just as we have done over the last five years.
"If local people put their faith in us again on 4 May we will also support communities and boost the local economy and jobs to make East Lothian the best possible place to live and work."
Iain Gray MSP said:
"This time last year many people had written off our chances of holding on to the East Lothian constituency at the Holyrood elections.
"However, by demonstrating to local people how I had been stronger for East Lothian and always stood up for its interests, we managed to confound the polls and win here again.
"Willie Innes and his team have the same level of commitment to East Lothian's interests. They have worked wonders to protect local services, especially schools and care for older people, from SNP Government cuts since 2012.
"All of our candidates are rooted in the communities they serve, or are seeking to serve, and I know that they will be stronger for East Lothian. That is why I will be working as hard as possible to help elect all of our team on 4 May."