Welcome to a brand new feature for ScotlandVotes ahead of May’s election. We’re calling it #16for16. 16 candidates that will be making an impact during the campaign and may be making a bigger impact in the Holyrood chamber after the election.
Our first profile is Labour councillor Monica Lennon, who is standing for Scottish Labour in Central Scotland.
What’s your Name? Monica Lennon
Where are you standing? Central Scotland
Which party are you standing for? Scottish Labour
How old are you? 35
What is your current job/role? I’ve been representing Hamilton North and East since my election to South Lanarkshire Council in 2012.
What have been your previous jobs/roles? I graduated in 2001 and qualified as a chartered town planner. The early part of my career was in local government and I’ve held varied roles in the Scottish Government and private sector too.
Why are you standing? I’m ambitious for my community and for Scotland but too many of us are being held back and our public services are diminishing. It doesn’t have to be this way. We need new voices in the Scottish Parliament to make the case for real change. I’m a campaigner and a fighter. The current cuts consensus is letting people down so I’m standing for investment in communities and our public services.
First election you can remember? The 1992 General Election. I was 11 and remember feeling it must be Labour’s turn now. We talked about politics at home and I grew up with a deep sense of how bad Tory rule had been for working class families like ours. I remember my dad being really disappointed. The following election was a turning point.
Where do you see Scotland in five years? I have high hopes for major advances in gender equality and the opportunities it can unlock in our economy. I’d like to think the additional powers and responsibilities coming to the Scottish Parliament will have been fully embraced; a stronger, bolder and more confident Scotland.
Favourite campaigning anecdote? It has to be the angry pants man. I knocked on a door and was greeted by a very animated guy who happened to be holding a pile of laundry. He was wagging his finger and just as he reached the peak of his reasons “I’ll never vote for you” a pair of underpants fell between us. I made a polite exit.
Tell us something not many people know about you My first ‘campaign’ involved writing to the Scottish Football Association when I was still at primary school and annoyed that girls didn’t have many opportunities to play football. Thankfully that’s changed a lot.
Biggest vice/guilty pleasure? I’ll admit to karaoke.
Other #16for16 profiles: