I’m ready to work harder and with this people-power, get elected in May!Dr Kate Willis
Highlands and Islands Greens welcome the substantial vote for their candidate Dr Kate Willis, a marine ecologist and campaigner who came third in the Fort William and Ardnamurchan Council By-election. She is the first Scottish Green candidate to stand in Council elections in Lochaber. "We are at a time of crisis on so many fronts and I'm delighted that so many people voted for me. I am hoping they will do the same when I stand in May when 4 councillors will be elected. The result shows that more and more people are concerned about the environment and want to see strong action to tackle the climate and nature crisis. If so many people voted for a Green vision with just one month of campaigning, imagine how many will vote Green after five months! I’m ready to work harder and with this people-power, get elected in May,” she says. The Highlands and Islands Green branch is working to elect many more Green Councillors in the full May 2022 election.
Dr Willis is well known from the work she is doing to deliver HIBIKE, the Fort William ebike share scheme as part of her work for Lochaber Environmental Group. She is also a wildlife tour guide and has been campaigning for many years for action at every level to address the climate and ecological crisis, particularly by rewilding and local food production. She has lived in the Highlands for nearly 20 years
Kate attended the marches at the COP 26 Climate Conference and was deeply inspired by the hundreds of thousands of people who attended the youth and climate justice marches and took other actions during the fortnight.
She advocates thinking longer-term. "We need to do everything we can to ensure the right decisions are made in the coming months and years. I'm delighted to have the opportunity as a Green Councillor to work with residents and communities to help improve democracy, build inclusive, resilient communities with affordable warm homes for all; improve active travel infrastructure and public transport services, and tackle social inequalities. I also want to help build a strong local circular economy that supports and promotes local enterprises and jobs, while reducing waste and carbon emissions. Having Greens in Government at a National level also helps to drive these policies forward with a lot more money allocated for recycling, active travel and home insulation and a review of incinerators. The Greener Scotland deal will also see the doubling of the Scottish Child payment from April 2022 and a budget deal sees the introduction of free bus travel for under 22s from January, which will make a huge difference for young people and their families".
"If I am elected in May it will give me a chance to help make the changes needed to tackle the climate and ecological crises and work together to build a stronger, sustainable future and a greener, fairer world for our children and grandchildren to grow up in” Dr Willis says.
The first Scottish Green Councillor in the Highlands, Pippa Hadley who represents the Badenoch and Strathspey ward was elected in 2017 and is standing again. Pippa has already managed to move the Council forward in terms of declaring a climate and ecological emergency, working towards a carbon neutral Highlands by 2025 and bringing pressure to bear to bring the Council Pension Fund in line with Paris Climate goals. She has also worked with other councillors to address the problem of lack of housing. "we can achieve even more with more Greens in the Council" she says. "I wedged the door open for the Greens and I’m hoping many more will walk through it in May”,
Another strong Green woman Ariane Burgess now represents the region as an MSP and chairs a parliamentary committee and is the Scottish Green’s Communities, Land Reform, Housing and Rural Affairs spokesperson.
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