Labour party members in the new Tranent, Wallyford, Macmerry ward have chosen three highly experienced individuals to be the party's local election candidates on 4 May. Sitting Fa'side councillor Jim Gillies will be joined by two new candidates, well-known Tranent community activist Colin McGinn, and NHS employee Fiona Dugdale.
Cllr Jim Gillies, a former butcher and manager of Tranent Co-op, has been one of the best known faces in local community life for decades. He has represented the Tranent area since 2007 and also been Depute Provost since May 2012. Cllr Gillies is also a member of the Co-operative Party and shopworkers' union, Usdaw.
Colin McGinn is from Tranent and lives in the town with his wife and two grown-up sons. He is a Senior Social Worker and member of Unison. He is a former Chair of the town's children's gala committee, a long standing supporter of Tranent Colts FC, a former community councillor and has been involved in numerous other local groups and organisations.
Fiona Dugdale lives in Tranent with her husband and young son. She is a Tranent and Elphinstone community councillor, a member of Unite the Union, and stood for the party at last year's Holyrood elections on the South of Scotland list, which includes East Lothian.
Speaking after the selection meeting Cllr Jim Gillies said:
"I'm really honoured that local colleagues have again put their faith in me to lead our election campaign in this ward. Having served two terms as a councillor, and spent years as a community councillor before that, I know local communities here inside out.
"We have made real progress here over the last few years, not least with our schools, including a new primary school on the way for Wallyford, and the £9m state-of-the-art facility, Crookston Care Home. I want to continue to stand up for the whole of this area, including the new additions to the ward, Wallyford and Whitecraig. Local folk here know that I will always put the interests of communities first."
Fiona Dugdale said:
"I'm very pleased to have this opportunity to ask people to support me to become one of their local councillors. I have lived in Tranent for many years and love the town and the wider local area. I will be working hard over the next few months to talk to as many people as possible about myself and why I'm standing.
"With a young son at a local primary school, one of my priorities would be to support schools in the ward to continue making progress and delivering the best quality education for our children. I also want to ensure that the Council does more to listen to women and families and respond to their needs."
Colin McGinn said:
"As long as I can remember my family have tried to do their bit to help make Tranent a great place in which to live. That was how I was brought up and I have always sought to bring that commitment to my involvement in various aspects of the town's community life.
"To be able to represent Tranent and the rest of this ward on the Council would be a great honour. My main objective as a councillor would be to use my grassroots experience and contacts to work with the local community and residents to keep improving Tranent and the rest of the ward and make the changes people want to see."
Branch Chair Grant Dugdale added:
"The Tranent branch pulled off a real coup in 2012 by managing to elect all three Labour candidates in Fa'side. With the first rate candidates we have chosen this time, I believe we have given ourselves a chance of repeating that achievement on 4 May.
"However, we are far from complacent. We'll be campaigning incredibly hard across the ward over the next four months to tell local people about our candidates and why they will be stronger for our area."