THE RACE FOR COUNCIL places in the local elections in Moray this May took another turn this week with the declaration of intent from the Moray Greens.
It came in the form of a statement from local Greens Convenor, James MacKessack-Leitch, who has confirmed he will once again contest the Heldon & Laich ward as the leading candidate for his party.
Mr MacKessack-Leitch is hoping that the widespread changes to the new council, with as many as 15 current Councillors unlikely to stand for re-election, will include the region’s first ever Green Party member.
He said: “Whatever happens in this election, with so many members retiring or moving on, there will be sweeping changes coming to Moray Council, and my aim is to push for a transformation in thinking about how the Council goes about its daily business, with a particular focus on planning for the long term future.
“Currently too much decision making is short-sighted and poorly thought out, and with tough times continuing for the present we need to take a different perspective on strained Council finances.
“We need to move beyond the fortress mentality, because it’s not just about cutting budgets and slashing services, we need more creative and community led solutions for a sustainable long term plan, and a real effort to join the dots across a range of linked issues.
“We also need to help build a sustainable local economy, not by pandering to big developers or throwing public money away on ill-conceived projects and short term solutions, but by engaging with our local businesses and third-sector organisations who could play a much bigger role given the right support and opportunities.
“These ongoing budget and service issues, and a lack of leadership and long term planning at Moray Council mean that the need for a strong, clear, but constructive voice, is more important than ever.
“I know I can be that voice, bringing the fresh perspective and ideas that the Council so badly needs, but I’m also keen to work collaboratively, not just within the Council, but with individuals and groups across the area, to ensure that together we are all planning for our long term prosperity.”
Support for Mr MacKessack-Leitch has come from regional Green MSP John Finnie: “Local councils deal with some of the most important activities in any community such as education, social care, housing and transport.
“I’ve known James for several years and I am aware of his commitment to Moray and its well-being. As a seasoned community activist and campaigner, James would make exactly the type of enthusiastic Councillor I’d want working for me and my community.”
James MacKessack-Leitch, 30, lives on the family farm at Alves, where he’s a company director. He has experience of working in both the private and public sector, with a background focussing on rural development.
He has supported a number of community issues – including playing a significant role in the successful campaign to scrap the proposed Elgin Western Link Road – and is currently the Vice-Chair of a local community trust.