Local issues for a local campiagn
I have said since I was officially selected as a candidate that my campaign would be all about listening to local people and taking action on their concerns. I have stayed true to this and will continue to do so.
Tonight I was listening to residents around the Dick Institute. One of the main concerns was surrounding the image of our town. Residents are worried about parks being left to rot. Tonight I gave a promise that I will keep (a politician saying this shock, but I really will), and that if residents put their trust in me on the third of May as a Councillor then within my first year I will be pushing the council to carry out a full review of the area, what needs replaced, fixed or painted over and ensure that work is started. If it gets to the stage its taking too long to get the report, I will carry it out myself! We need to stop having parks with broken stonework, graffiti on equipment etc.
Another important concern raised tonight was surrounding the lack of businesses in the area. My commitment was that if elected as Councillor I would be an ambassador for the area and work with local business leaders to attract more business. I would push for a reduction on business rates and ensure they do not move above inflation. I would promote and try to increase the small business grant scheme and ensure our rates for property are affordable. I would also try to work with Kilmarnock College to see if we can use the new facility to revisit the courses on offer. Try to get courses in technology, skilled and semi-skilled, and in running businesses. Giving our young people the tools to be effective contributors to society and get a job.
Tonight a few residents mentioned the increasing amount of substance misuse around the town centre and how this is deterring people from shopping locally. This is not a new issue and the council has been working hard with the local authority to tackle this problem. If elected as Councillor to the area, I would give the commitment to explore this issue. Being from a social care background, I firmly believe that we are all equal in society and we need to have support in place to encourage people abusing substances to come off their substances, this can be done through the involvement of the third sector. Support is crucial. I would also like to see the police increase their presence in known target spots and ensure the public are reassured! Using derogatory terms will not solve this issue.
A lot of points discussed with residents tonight, however one thing that was standard was the desire for a better area and for change. I hope I have helped them to see that this change they want can be achieved by voting Rob Murray number 1.