Retiring Ross MSP names the woman he endorses as would-be successor
A DINGWALL woman hoping to represent the area as a nationalist MSP following next year’s Scottish Parliament election has been given the personal endorsement of the man she aims to replace.
Former Dingwall Academy pupil Katie Forbes (25) is one of six candidates on an all-female shortlist hoping to replace David Thompson, who has announced he will stand down from the Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch seat ahead of the May 2016 Holyrood election.
Ms Forbes is standing against five other candidates — Elizabeth MacDonald (Nairnshire and Culloden), Elizabeth Paul (Lochaber and North Lorne), Heather Williams (Preston East Lothian), Muriel Cockburn (Wester Ross) and Susan Lyons (Nairnshire and Culloden).
The 2,500 SNP members in the constituency will have the final say in a postal ballot with a prospective candidate expected to be selected by the end of August.
Ms Forbes, who left Dingwall Academy in 2008 to study history at the University of Cambridge, has roots in the farming and crofting families of Applecross and Strathnairn, A Gaelic speaker, she was first educated in Gaelic medium before spending five years as a teenager in Indian schools where her father was working.
After leaving the University of Cambridge, she worked as research assistant for over a year in Holyrood for Mr Thompson, whose constituency includes Dingwall and the Black Isle.
She said: “My love for the Highlands stems in part from a love of its rich history, but also because I am one of its people. I believe we have such a wealth of culture, creativity, natural beauty and hard- working people. But we can’t always harness the potential of these benefits due to the limitations of infrastructure and connectivity.
“I want to fight for the interests of those of us who live in Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch by listening to peoples’ concerns and finding solutions. I’ll do this by building on Dave Thompson’s successes and ensuring that we continue to invest in jobs and educational opportunities in Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch.”
All of the candidates will attend branch hustings.
Mr Thompson, who backs the all-female shortlist, said: “These candidates all have various strengths and all would make an excellent MSP should the constituency electorate choose them in May.
"My personal endorsement goes to Katie Forbes, a bright local woman with a wider family living around Farr and Dingwall who has among other skills fluent Gaelic, commercial training and a sharp mind.”