Barry Shelby, who is originally from the West Coast of the USA, is standing for election to the Western Isles council.
Born in Berkeley California in 1960, he moved to Scotland in 1997 and became a naturalised UK citizen in 2006. He and his Glasgow-born wife Elizabeth moved to the Outer Hebrides in 2008.
“My home is here,” Shelby says. “And yes, apparently I would be the first American-born councillor on the Comhairle. But I’m not in this to make history - but to make a difference for the crofting communities and residents in this ward.”
He was encouraged to vie for a council seat by his voluntary community work on Great Bernera, as well by people he has met across Lewis and Harris during time as a project manager for the Lewis and Harris Horticultural Producers.
“In order to secure the future of these islands, we must grasp the proverbial thistle and take charge of our affairs,” he says. “Difficult decisions on how we spend limited funds confront us all.”
He believes the most effective government for people and communities must take place at a local level, not in Edinburgh or London - even if they control purse strings.
“We cannot have it all: we need to invest in a sustainable model for island security, whether in the energy sector and food production or in education and health. This means a recommitment, as well, to a sensitive system of caring for each other and becoming less dependent on vagaries outwith our control.
“Our ultimate well-being begins in regional communities, who need the backing of the Comhairle to secure the ambitions of residents,” he added. “This is the goal of my candidacy. It can happen.”