Five of six Moray Council ward eight (Forres) local election candidates face questions from the community at town hall hustings
Easier access to your trusted, local news. Subscribe to a digital package and support local news publishing.
MORE than 60 constituents attended a local election hustings at the town hall organised by Forres Area Forum (FAF).
Five of the Moray Council ward eight candidates - Shaun Moat (Independent), Scott Lawrence (SNP), Paul McBain (Conservative), James Hynam (Labour) and Kathleen Robertson (Conservative) - drew lots to decide where to sit in the lesser hall and in what order to make opening remarks before facing questions from the public.
Greens candidate Draeyk Horn was unable to attend the event presented by Joint Community Councils of Moray chairman, Alistair Kennedy.
Mr Kennedy said: “It was a pleasure to chair such a good natured and informative event.”
FAF secretary Tina Coffey agreed the hustings went very well.
She said: “It was important that the residents of Forres had the chance to meet the prospective candidates before the elections. The Q&A format gave each candidate four minutes to answer each question from the audience. Alastair rotated the candidates in terms of who would respond first.
“All of the candidates came across well and were well received by the attendees. Dealing with unprepared, live questioning can be daunting but they coped very well.”
Mr Moat was pleased with the turnout .
He said: “The audience asked a good mix of questions on topics from climate change and affordable housing to the Falconer Museum.
“As the only independent candidate, I don’t have a Party manifesto to fall back on so I answered openly and honestly.
“Whoever is voted in, our brand new councillors will have a great opportunity to work together for real change.”
Mr Lawrence enjoyed the opportunity to listen to local concerns.
He said: “The event helped me clarify the challenges ahead for whoever is elected. It’s important to speak to as many members of the community as I can to get a clearer picture of life in the area.
“Questions covered a wide range of topics with particular concern about pressure on social enterprises generated by the cost of living crisis, and unacceptable levels of child poverty.
“I’m passionate about engaging with local people and I will serve the community well if voted in on polling day.”
Mr McBain admitted to being nervous before the event but said: “The hustings were well run and the mutual respect between the candidates was very evident.
“The questions were specific to Forres and all of the panel members answered that the views of the area will be in the forefront when they are in office.”
Mr Hynam enjoyed the event too.
He said: “It was good to be questioned by the local community so that we could hear what is important to them, and they could hear what drives us and what our motivations are.
“Anyone who was unable to make the event can contact me through my Facebook page if they want to know more about me, or with any concerns they may have.”
Finally, Mrs Robertson felt the hustings were were organised and fairly chaired.
She said: “The Hustings were great for getting a feel for what other members of the public are looking for in terms of service from their councillors.
“Their questions were varied and relevant to the challenges we are all faced with. I answered as openly and honestly as I could and hope I gave a realistic account of what my approach would be if I am fortunate enough to be elected.”