Deputy First Minister of Scotland John Swinney was in Maybole on Friday night to show support for the SNP’s Jeane Freeman.
Jeane was formally ‘adopted’ as the party’s candidate for Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley for next years Scottish Parliament elections as she bids to replace the outgoing Adam Ingram MSP.
Mr Swinney took time to speak to the Gazette.
He said: “I’m delighted that Jeane is going to be our candidate in this constituency.
“Jeane’s got a tremendous amount of experience and expertees in public life, she has been at the heart of Government as a special adviser to the last Labour Government.
“I think Jeane brings a really thoughtful and grounded set of values into our politics and that’s a great strength for the SNP. I think also Jeane is symptomatic of new faces that are coming into politics and it’s great to see someone of Jeane’s capability coming into the SNP.”
Mr Swinney said he was also keen to come to Maybole to pay tribute to outgoing MSP Adam Ingram.
He said: “One of the reasons I was so keen to come tonight was not only to support Jeane but I also want to pay the warmest tribute to Adam Ingram who’s been a tremendous member of the Scottish Parliament.
“Adam was an excellent minister for children and young people and set the agenda of getting it right for every child.
“He’s given such commitment to this area.”
When asked about the Maybole bypass he said: “There is a due process to go through but the arguments for the Maybole bypass are pretty self-evident when you drive through Maybole.”
Mr Swinney announced last month at his party’s conference that councils would have the power to cut business rates.
He sent a message to South Ayrshire Council: “I’d encourage local authorities to take up this local power.
“It’s an opportunity to get new investment into localities and it gives a flexibility to local authorities.”
Social justice secretary Alex Neil MSP also spoke to the Gazette.
Mr Neil said: “Jeane’s absolutely the right person to take forward SNP representation from this area.
“Adam Ingram has done a sterling job for 15 years and Jeane I think is a very worthy successor.
“Her intellectual ability and commitment to the community are her real qualities and she’s very passionate about issues like deprivation and unemployment.
“She’ll be fearless in promoting the area and looking after the interests of the people who live here.”