Stephanie Callaghan is the SNP candidate for Uddingston and Bellshill

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

My three children are my biggest inspiration. I want them to grow up in a country where people and communities look after each other. The job of government is ultimately to protect citizens from harm and ensure basic needs are met. We all want a good education, health care, warm homes and individual liberties, and equal rights and opportunities. As an MSP, I want to make a positive difference to people’s lives across Uddingston and Bellshill constituency.

What got you into politics?

The miners’ strike woke me up to politics. I had a happy childhood growing up in a council housing scheme, but money was tight for most of us. One day, mum and I met up with dad after work. Dad said he’d just put £20 in the miners’ collection tin and I’d just watched my mum do the same! I knew £40 was a lot of money and I was quite shocked but they agreed it was fine because it was the miners. I asked my dad about it and I’ll never forget that sinking feeling as I heard the story of closing collieries and crushing the miners’ strike. It was upsetting and hard to believe a government tasked with looking after us could be so cruel. I realised our votes really matter and standing in solidarity is important.

What’s your career experience beyond politics?

I’ve worked in various jobs including call centres, shops and pubs. I worked with a youth training organisation to provide work experience for young people, getting them “work ready”. The trainees’ mentor found a new job and asked me to consider applying for her job and I did!

I went on to deliver youth and adult education and employment projects across Lanarkshire, Easterhouse and Drumchapel. Young people are everyone’s future and I’m delighted the new Scottish Youth Guarantee ensures every young person will have the opportunity of work, training or education.

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

I was born here, I live here, I work here and I choose to raise my family here. People are our biggest asset and I care deeply about our communities, our places and our history. As MSP, I will listen to constituent’s and speak up for them at Parliament. I will also keep people, places and our planet at the centre of policy.

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

The Scottish Government’s Green Recovery Plan puts wellbeing first and I will focus on getting our fair share of funding and ensuring the local plan to refit local homes is delivered. Local workers will train for decent jobs that improve homes across the area. Secure homes and jobs help keep us healthy and stable.

On top of devastating Tory austerity, Brexit, and Covid have shone a light on what matters most in our lives: our people and places. Communities have stepped up to look after each other and we must build on that. I will also focus on transforming infrastructure to encourage active travel which improves health and tackles climate change. I will ensure our smaller towns and villages are not forgotten.

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

I would get rid of nuclear submarines on the Clyde and invest our money in people and places. It’s time to move away from GDP and stop measuring our success by how much money changes hands via spending in a market economy. Let’s focus instead on achieving wellbeing indicators: safe, healthy, achieving, nurtured, active, respected, responsible. Happiness matters.

Tell us something unusual about yourself?

Slapstick comedy seems to make everyone else laugh – I can’t stand it!