Siobhian Brown is the SNP candidate for Ayr

Can you explain your motivation for wanting to become an MSP?

I am passionate about improving the lives of the people of Ayr, Prestwick and Troon. Prior to being elected as a local councillor in 2017, I was actively involved with local community issues and charity fundraising. I remain a councillor and am the portfolio holder for economy, tourism and leisure in South Ayrshire. I want to maximise opportunities from the Ayrshire Growth Deal which will see £80 million invested into our area and create more than 4000 highly skilled jobs. But as a councillor, I can only do so much.

I am also passionate about building a more supportive society. During lockdown I instigated several community initiatives online which delivered real support to people in need. I would relish the chance to do so much more as an MSP.

What got you into politics?

Although I was always passionate about local community issues, I never had any political ambition. That all changed in 2014 after the Scottish independence referendum. I joined the SNP the day after the vote. Not once since 2014 have I seen any sign from the Westminster Government that Scotland is a respected equal in this Union, and that drives my determination that. For the sake of my children and every other child’s future, Scotland must take its place as an independent country.

What’s your career experience beyond politics?

I worked in the legal profession for 15 years, initially as a commercial conveyancing paralegal and latterly as office manager for a large local law firm. Before that I was general manager for a fashion retail/manufacturing business.

In 2016, I set up South Ayrshire Babybank, which I run myself on a voluntary basis and I still work extensively with local charities as well as making and promoting appeals for local families in need.

Outside politics, I also have my husband and family, who range from four to 16 years. I am used to juggling the various demands of my family, not to mention a boisterous year-old dog.

Why should the people of your constituency vote for you in May?

I am hard-working and deeply committed to improving the lives of all constituents. My political experience combined with my grassroots community work had given me a deep understanding of what is important to the local community. I have a track record of hard work and commitment to the area and as the MSP for Ayr, I will be a strong voice to deliver positive improvements for our area and our communities.

If you’re elected, what do you hope to achieve?

Due to the Covid-19 crisis and the sharp increase in job losses in the past six months, my main priority is to ensure local businesses and people get the support they need through this difficult period.

If elected my priorities will be education and mental health and wellbeing. Also, local issues such as water quality at our beaches and local flooding issues need greater attention and I will push for legislation that calls for building owners to take responsibility for the maintenance of their buildings.

With the powers of independence, what’s the one thing about Scotland you would change?

Having full powers as an independent country will unlock our potential and enable Scotland to put Scotland first and foremost in all decisions to benefit our country. The Covid crisis has further emphasised why we need full fiscal powers to support our country.

There are so many reasons and benefits to being an independent country but one thing I would change as soon as is safely possible is the removal of nuclear weapons from the Clyde.

Tell us something unusual about yourself?

I grew up in Sydney, Australia and returned to Scotland in 1999. Something unusual? I had my youngest daughter at the ripe old age of 44 and sometimes I feel like the oldest mum in the world – but she keeps me young and driven to work hard for a better future.