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Candidate Profile: Pauline Winchester

I was brought up in a forces family and my father served with the Royal Artillery in the British Army. My first 18 years of life was spent travelling with him and my family, moving every 18-24 months. By the age of 5 I had moved 4 times and lived in three different countries (England, Germany and Kenya). I continued moving throughout my life and bring experience from working in England, Wales and now Scotland.

I moved from Wales to Midlothian in 2002 and have found somewhere to settle and at long last call home. After moving to Midlothian I continued working as a Paediatric Intensive Care nurse moving to caring for Children with exceptional health care needs in the community. In 2012 I moved to a desk job and now work in the Litigation Team for NHS Lothian. If elected I intend to work out how much time will be required as a Councillor and adjust my working hours with the NHS as necessary.

In September 2014 Midlothian voters overwhelmingly rejected independence thinking that the vote would be accepted for at least a generation. Instead the SNP Government, with the support of the Green Party, have started the moves toward putting the country through another divisive referendum. We don’t need this, we don’t want this, and we shouldn’t be put through this again. A vote for me is a vote to let Nicola Sturgeon know that we reject another referendum on independence. There is no doubt that any increase in the SNP or Green Party vote will be used by Nicola Sturgeon to assume that the support for another referendum is there.

We live in the beautiful county of Midlothian and should strive to keep it so. This means ensuring that our roads, schools, amenities and the services delivered by Midlothian Council are the best possible and good enough to encourage people to move here. What is best for Midlothian needs to be at the forefront of any decision made by the Council.

We need a council who will stand up for Midlothian in discussions with the minority SNP Government, not a council who will blindly accept any decisions as the SNP has for the last five years. We need a Council who will put the people of Midlothian first.

During canvassing in the first three months of this year, we heard the same message time and time again throughout the six wards of Midlothian.  People are very concerned that new houses are being built everywhere but without any visible signs of an increase in infrastructure to support the new residents and their vehicles. Not one resident objected to houses being built as the need for them was accepted. However, the roads in Midlothian are getting busier and busier and journeys are taking longer. We are now in a situation whereby many of the GP surgeries have restricted their lists and will not take anyone who has moved in to the area; Lasswade High School is full and the catchment area has now changed; the budget to repair the roads has been cut and yet many of our roads are in a dreadful state of repair with drivers having to dodge potholes more often.

Mauricewood Road area is in the centre of this right now, with Mauricewood Road closed for months and no end in sight. Residents in the Mauricewood area are suffering and this are likely to be on going for years. All in all I think that the SNP have failed Midlothian voters in the last five years. Decisions taken by the Council and reasons for them must be explained to residents of any area affected.

Earlier this year the SNP and Green Party Councillors agreed a budget for 17/18 that leaves Midlothian with a deficit of £4,000,000 for this year and yet the SNP Government has again cut the budget that the Council receives. We must have a Council that not only stays within financial constraints but also provides a value for money service that focuses on the 87,000 residents. Difficult decisions will have to be taken, but electing Scottish Conservative & Unionist Councillors will mean that difficult decisions will be made with the needs of residents at the forefront of any decision.

If elected I will undertake to keep in regular contact with all the residents using every medium possible. I will attend community Council meetings; I will hold regular monthly surgeries in every community; I will endeavour to make myself available through email, telephone and letter to residents. I will work for the benefit of every resident, making sure that they are at the forefront of any decisions.

It will be hard, and I am under no illusions that I will be able to please every resident on every occasion, but I promise that I will do my best.

Remember that this local election asks you to number candidates in order of preference from 1 – 8 (in Midlothian West). The choice is yours as to how many people you give your preference. This means that you may number as many or as few as you wish. It is entirely your choice.

By putting me as your number 1 you will be selecting a person who will work hard for you and a person who will put your needs first.

If you feel that you can’t put me as your number 1 choice I hope you will consider me for your number 2 or 3.