Meet the candidates for Aberdeenshire West

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As the race for Holyrood heats up and the date for candidate registration passing on Friday, April 1, who is standing for election in 
Aberdeenshire West?

Scotland will head to the polls on Thursday, May 5 with 16 and 17-year-olds eligible to vote.

This will be the fifth Scottish Parliamentary elections since the Parliament was established back in 1999.

With the Scottish Parliament dissolved at the end of March the campaigning is underway to elect 129 members to the Scottish Parliament.

Dennis Robertson (SNP)

Dennis was born in 1956 in Aberdeen.

After attending the Royal blind school in Edinburgh from 1968 to 1974, he moved to Greenock where ha began his career in Social Work including training at Langside College.

Dennis has also worked for Guide Dogs for the Blind in Forfar and was client manager at North East Sensory Services before being elected as MSP for West Aberdeenshire in 2011.

In Parliament, he sat on the Energy Economy & Tourisim Committee of which he was Deputy Convenor, and the Health and Sport Committee.

As well as being a member of several cross party groups including Visual Impairment, Deafness, Health Inequalities and Scotch Whisky, Dennis was the convenor of the Heart Disease & Stroke Cross Party Group.

In his leisure time, he enjoys walking, reading, fly fishing, sailing and most of all spending time with his family.

Alexander Burnett 
(Conservative)

Alexander is well-known in Deeside through his rugby, renewable energy and community activities. He stood in last year’s General Election, where he was the strongest challenger to the SNP.

In May, he stands again, this time for Aberdeenshire West, where he believes his combination of experience and local knowledge makes him the best representative for the area in Holyrood.

Alex knows the North-East is having a hard time of it at the moment, with rising local unemployment on top of the floods and the oil and farming crises but also knows have shown great resilience in the face of these difficulties. Now, perhaps more than ever, He says that Scotland needs not to be distracted by the prospect of another Independence referendum and should pull together to focus on tackling these important issues.

Alex believes that families and businesses deserve more support from the next Scottish Government – particularly our rural communities and, with the Scottish Conservatives led by Ruth Davidson, you can be assured of a strong voice for the Union, a strong opposition to the Scottish Government, and a clear voice for the North-East in Holyrood.

Sarah Duncan (Labour)

Sarah was born and brought up mostly in Aberdeen and the North East Scotland, with a spell in Newfoundland.

She attended Dyce Academy in Aberdeen and then studied Modern History at Oxford where she was the first person from her school to apply and took up the place to prove that someone from a school with no Oxbridge entry experience could get an offer. Sarah want’s every pupil to have the same chance to fulfil their potential, irrespective of their family background or which school they go to.

Sarah then worked for a City of London law firm as a paralegal and obtained her legal qualification at night school. Her six years as legal adviser to hedge fund managers and foreign exchange traders was an eye-opening experience— and made her realise that ‘making rich people richer’, as Sarah’s mother put it, was not how she wanted to spend my life.

Sarah returned to Aberdeen in 1998 and now works as a full-time public sector trade union official.

Sarah wants to protect high quality public services in North East Scotland, including retaining Major Trauma Centre status for ARI, see more affordable housing in the area (both for rent and purchase by first-time buyers) and believe that the Scottish Government can be more proactive in protecting high quality oil and gas jobs. These are the reasons why Sarah is standing for Holyrood in Aberdeenshire West and the NE Regional list.

Mike Rumbles 
(Liberal Democrats)

Mike is an experienced and well known campaigner, with 12 years experience 
as an MSP & a lifetime of public service under his belt.

He is the second oldest of six brothers and sisters. After leaving school at 16 he worked hard to gain funds to see himself through higher education, gaining a degree in teaching from the University of Durham.

With public service in mind, Mike joined the Army, graduating from The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and after his first posting with the Scottish Infantry Division served in Northern Ireland, Gibraltar and Germany.

Mike’s commitment to public service led him into politics and soon after leaving the Army and he settled in Aberdeenshire with his wife Pauline and their two sons Andrew and Malcolm.

Mike’s many achievements in his first years as a member of the Scottish Parliament were largely made in the teeth of opposition from vested interests.

He drove through free eye and dental checks for all on the NHS, voting to establish smoke free enclosed public places and being the force behind establishing free personal care for the elderly throughout Scotland.