Hi, I'm Catriona Bhatia, and I'm standing for the Scottish Liberal Democrats on the South of Scotland Regional List in the upcoming elections this year.
What makes you get involved?
I have always had a keen interest in politics and care passionately about promoting Liberalism and its core values of fairness, equality, justice and internationalism. Supporting local communities and, in particular, addressing social, educational, economic and/or health inequalities is what drives me to work to build a better future for people across our area.
What are your main areas of focus?
Educational excellence & opportunity for all
I want Scottish education to offer lifelong opportunities and to be the best again by putting teachers back in charge. Within schools life and social skills, and vocational pathways should be of equal value to academic qualifications. The SNP said to judge them on their record in Education – no fancy algorithm needed – they FAILED!
Our Environment, Our Economy
We must have a green recovery from the pandemic. Our beautiful natural environment and innovative local businesses offer the ideal opportunity to transform the South of Scotland into a vibrant rural economy. Building more affordable, sustainable housing should also be part of our recovery. We have a duty to future generations to tackle the climate crisis with urgency.
Let's Get Connected
Faster Broadband, improved public transport and new rail links, safe cycleways are all vital to connect our communities.
The Covid crisis has shown us that with the right infrastructure we can encourage people to Live Locally, Work Locally and Shop Locally.
Focus on Mental Health
Liberal Democrats have been at the forefront of calls to improve mental health services both locally and nationally. We need action to reduce waiting times, have a mental health first aider in every workplace and give extra support to our NHS and care staff. We also need to re-design child and youth mental health services to cut the appalling waiting which currently has to be endured.
And before getting involved in politics?
I had a varied and successful career in the tourism industry before taking some time away from a career to be a full-time mum to my 3 young daughters.
In 2003 I was elected as Scottish Liberal Democrat Councillor in Tweeddale, and was privileged to serve the local community for three terms before standing down in 2017.
And when it's time to relax?
Getting together with my family (daughters India, Caledonia & Persia, and son Rio) is always interesting and (usually) good fun!
We are lucky to have 4 horses and they take up a lot of my spare time. I also enjoy quizzes, jigsaws, reading crime novels and attending Zoom wine tastings.