BELOW are brief profiles of the nine candidates standing for election in the Musselburgh ward at the East Lothian Council election on Thursday, May 4.

Four of them will be elected.

Musselburgh is being reduced to a single ward for this election - previously it has been split into two wards, with Musselburgh West currently having 2 SNP councillors and 1 Labour, while Musselburgh East and Carberry has 1 SNP, 1 Labour and 1 independent.

Candidates are listed below in alphabetical order.

John Caldwell (independent)

East Lothian Courier:

JOHN Caldwell lives in Musselburgh with his wife. John has been an independent councillor for Musselburgh East and Carberry since 2007. He said: “Over my time as a councillor I have been able to help many constituents in resolving their issues and giving them advice on such matters as housing, social care, education and much more. The main bread and butter for a local councillor is not to be involved in political arguments but to represent constituents and ensure they get the best service they can get from the local authority.” John is a former chairman of Musselburgh and Inveresk Community Council and is chairman of the body which runs Musselburgh Racecourse.

Stuart Currie (SNP)

East Lothian Courier:

STUART Currie was born and bred in Musselburgh, attending Campie Primary School and Musselburgh Grammar School. A former  member of Musselburgh and Inveresk Community Council, he worked in the civil service for 20 years and for most of that time was an elected trade union official. He has served as a councillor for the past 10 years, holding cabinet positions on housing and community safety and in recent years as leader of the SNP opposition group.He said: “Without doubt the highlight of these past 10 years has been serving as a councillor for my own town and it would a tremendous honour to be re-elected once again.”

Andy Forrest (Labour)

East Lothian Courier:

ANDY Forrest has represented Musselburgh as a councillor for 14 years. He believes it was the work he did as a community activist that has most helped him in his work as a East Lothian councillor. Andy has worked with the community to help get local housing stock updated and repairs made, and helped to set up the first credit union in East Lothian. He said: “I have been an accessible councillor, offering advice or support, from getting people’s grass cut to signing passports.” And he added: “For me, the role of a councillor has always been about getting involved with the community in every way possible.”

Claire Graham (Liberal Democrats)

East Lothian Courier:

CLAIRE Graham is an entrepreneur, the mother of 21-month-old twin boys and the treasurer of the local Twins Club. She is already getting a reputation as someone who gets things done, say the Lib Dems. Tesco agreed to regular tidying of its shrub beds after Claire’s intervention. Now Claire is pushing to improve High Street, including planning a new indoor market. She has started a petition to deliver the long-promised care home. As your councillor, Claire says she will “champion root and branch reform to the outdated council tax system, and push for a better planning system that supports local people”.

Katie Mackie (Conservative)

East Lothian Courier:

KATIE Mackie has been selected as the Scottish Conservative and Unionist candidate for the Musselburgh ward. Katie lives in Musselburgh and works as the Head of Office for Scottish Conservative Lothian MSP Jeremy Balfour. Prior to working for Jeremy, Katie was the UK external corporate affairs manager for a global brewer. Katie has been involved in East Lothian politics for a number of years and has previously stood as a local government candidate. She took part in the Better Together campaign in 2014. Katie loves living in East Lothian, with its diverse communities, heritage and beautiful scenery.

Jason Rose (Greens)

East Lothian Courier:

JASON Rose is a community campaigner, known for his work on Musselburgh’s traffic pollution problem. He lives in the town with his wife and young daughter.He is chairman of the Burgh School Council, chairman of Friends of Musselburgh Links and also a member of Fisherrow Waterfront Group. Jason said: “As a local campaigner, I’ve pushed hard to protect and improve my town. If elected as one of our four councillors, I will achieve even more.” And he added: “I’ll be a fresh voice on the council. I’ll stand up for our schools, tackle our transport problems and protect community facilities and outdoor spaces.”

Katherine Sangster (Labour)

East Lothian Courier:

KATHERINE Sangster is married and lives in Musselburgh with her family. She has a background in marketing and project management and currently runs her own business providing company secretarial support to a number of businesses and charities. Katherine also volunteers for Children’s Hearings Scotland and is spokeswoman for childcare campaign group Fair Funding for Our Kids. She is also national manager for the Scottish Fabians, a policy thinktank. She said: “I will bring all this experience from the charitable and commercial sectors to the role of local councillor and be a strong advocate for my community and local people.”

Theresa Sives (independent)

East Lothian Courier:

THERESA Sives holds a post graduate diploma in career guidance and qualifications in housing, management, project management, life coaching etc. From 2005 to 2013 she was a project manager for the PETE Project in Musselburgh. Theresa said that Musselburgh was “a very different place” now to the town she moved to 33 years ago. She said: “Our shops are predominantly charity shops and the small businesses which are the lifeblood of any community appear to be in decline. I cannot recall many large businesses opening here (other than retail), to give career choices to our people. What have our councillors been doing?”

John Williamson (SNP)

East Lothian Courier:

JOHN Williamson is married with three daughters and one granddaughter. He has lived in Musselburgh for over 30 years and has represented Musselburgh West ward as a local councillor since May 2007. He said: “I am standing for re-election again as I feel I have the experience and knowledge of how the council operates and want to ensure that Musselburgh is able to grow and prosper in a manageable and sustainable way.” And he added: “I have a good track record of supporting local bodies and organisations through attendance at their meetings etc. I hope to continue to be able to do this as a councillor.”