My name is Gail Ross. I’m the Constituency MSP for Caithness, Sutherland and Ross and until November I was also a Highland Councillor for the Wick ward. As a Councillor, my first and most important responsibility was to represent the people of Wick but as an MSP my responsibilities cover the much greater area of Caithness, Sutherland and Ross. A constituency the size of Northern Ireland and the biggest on the Scottish Mainland. It stretches from Cape Wrath to Kishorn and John O' Groats to Evanton.
I love Caithness. I lived in Glasgow and I lived in Edinburgh but I came back and I continue to make Wick my home. We take for granted our big countryside and big skies and our sense of community but when you go away and you come back you realise just what a fantastic place it is to live in.
I think the independence referendum has left a legacy all over Scotland that we never could have dreamed of. We’ve had people engage in politics that have never shown an interest before, especially young people and to me that is really important because we need to get more young people engaged in what we do. In 2015 we welcomed a team of young people down from Wick High School to Highland Council HQ in Inverness because they were taking part in an Apps for Good competition. They’ve developed a politics app and they won their category for the whole of the UK. Young people are seeing how politics touches every part of our lives and they want to be part of shaping their own futures.
The SNP is different from other political parties because it has social justice and fairness at its heart. It has principles, it’s always stuck to those principles, it’s never wavered from those principles and neither have the people who belong to this party. We will ensure that we have a social security system that treats people with respect, an health service that's always free at the point of need and an education system that offers opportunities on your ability to learn, not to pay.
As a party we represent everyone in Scotland no matter where you are from or what your background is and I think that that principle of social justice held us strong in the face of Tory Westminster austerity. People voted for the SNP at the Scottish Parliament elections in 2016 because they wanted a representative that has honesty, integrity and will represent them to the best of their abilities. I will always do that.