It has been a real privilege to represent the Dumfriesshire constituency in the Scottish Parliament since 2016 and I am grateful to all those who have put their trust in me.
For generations my family has lived and worked in Dumfries and Galloway and I feel very strongly about protecting our way of life and standing up for the unique cross-border interests of our communities. I grew up in Moffat and attended Moffat Academy before studying Law at Edinburgh. After graduating, I worked briefly for the global oil and gas company Royal Dutch Shell before taking a firmer interest in politics working at Westminster as a parliamentary aide, including to former Attorney General Geoffrey Cox QC MP.
As a committed Unionist I returned to Dumfriesshire in the run up to the Independence Referendum in 2014 to help coordinate the local 'Better Together' campaign. Seeing our region vote so strongly to remain part of the United Kingdom strengthened my determination to stand for Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party in the 2016 Holyrood elections in order to provide a strong opposition to the SNP's plans for a second referendum.
In May 2016 I became one of the youngest constituency MSPs since the Scottish Parliament's creation in 1999 winning, what was at the time, Labour's 'safest seat' within Scotland. Since then, I have been proud to act as a voice for the needs of the people of Dumfriesshire in Parliament and ensure that the voices of local people are being heard by the Scottish Government, particularly when it comes to rural education, improving our road and rail networks and protecting our local NHS and Police services.
I am also passionate about improving outcomes for those with learning difficulties and mental health challenges. Having struggled with dyspraxia and dyslexia myself, I remain determined to ensure young people both in Dumfriesshire and across Scotland get the support they need.
I have previously served on a number of Scottish Parliament committees including Justice and the Rural Economy and during the last Parliament I was the Shadow Minister for the Constitution and for a short time the Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Tourism. Following my re-election, I was delighted to take on the role of Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills.
In the rare free time I get away from politics, I enjoy spending quality time with my wife and daughter. During the last parliamentary session, I also learned to horse ride from scratch so I could take part in the Langholm Common Riding, Guid Nychburris and the Lockerbie, Sanquhar and Annan Riding of the Marches.