IF EVER there was a time for our politicians to focus on the entire country, then now is that time.

This is no time to be returning to the old arguments or for some politicians to focus on only half of the country.

Now is the time to focus on the entire nation, to focus on a recovery from this public health emergency.

No matter your political preference, I am sure we can agree that remaining focused as we exit the pandemic is the best way to defeat this virus and the quickest way for society to return to some sort of normality.

I will do everything I can to ensure we recover from the pandemic as safely and as quickly as possible, without the disruptions of lockdowns or old arguments.

Scottish Labour’s national recovery plan includes a health recovery, an education recovery, a community recovery, a climate justice plan and at the heart of our plan is a jobs recovery.

Without bold action, Scotland faces an unemployment crisis that will become a national emergency. The scale of the problem that confronts us requires an ambitious response. That is why we are proposing the most ambitious jobs creation plan in the history of devolution – a plan that guarantees opportunities for young people.

I’ll also be focusing on local issues that require urgent intervention, such as the continued delays to the Sheriffhall upgrade, or the poor patient experiences at Riverside Medical Practice.

Regarding the latter, I am 100 per cent committed to finding a sustainable solution. This will be my very first task as your MSP. It is clear the practice at this time cannot complete its function.

When a GP practice cannot complete its function, then NHS Lothian needs to intervene. Everyone is entitled to care at the point of need. Nothing can be off the table in an effort to find a solution.

Consideration must also be given to a new NHS practice at Wallyford to help alleviate the pressures at Riverside.

I’ll also continue to campaign for local investment and a fairer funding deal for our growing councils. When compared to other councils, East Lothian is disadvantaged as Scottish Government-allocated funds are failing to recognise and keep pace with the local population growth.

Councils in our region face huge challenges in meeting the growing demand for services. This is an unsustainable position. My support for Scottish Government housebuilding targets is not unconditional.

My journey into politics is community-based and I feel an immense sense of pride knowing that I have the opportunity to represent our towns and villages at Holyrood. It would be such a privilege.

It’s either Scottish Labour or the SNP here in the Midlothian North and Musselburgh constituency. I am asking for you to lend me your trust, for your vote on May 6.

Thank you and stay safe.

Stevie Curran biography: I have lived in our constituency my entire life, living in Danderhall until I was 25 years old. I am now 48 and reside in Dalkeith. I am married to Ann (nee Carwell) and have two children. I was a pupil at Danderhall Primary School and Dalkeith High School, thereafter studying business and IT at Jewel & Esk Valley College (Eskbank and Milton Road). I am a Midlothian councillor for the ward of Dalkeith and Danderhall. I hold cabinet responsibilities within the council administration and I am also chair of the Midlothian Police and Fire and Rescue Board. I do have extensive experience working in the public sector. That experience includes over 10 years of service with Lothian and Borders Police/Police Scotland (operations co-ordinator). I am also a part-time taxi driver. My hobbies include golf and IT. I’ve been a member at the Musselburgh Golf Club (Monktonhall) for over 10 years. I also have a passion for IT and have often volunteered my skills to assist and digitally connect small organisations and community groups.