I've got a record of Ministerial success in the Scottish Government.
As Housing Minister I laid the groundwork for the biggest council house building programme in a generation as the SNP Scottish Government starting building more houses every month than the previous administrations had managed in 10 years. My colleague, Margaret Burgess has delivered on that impressively.
As Schools and Skills Minister I initiated a huge increase in Modern Apprenticeships, and as Transport Minister I've been responsible for overseeing the Transport Scotland bad weather response and delivering the transport infrastructure programme. Projects worth billions of pounds, including the on-time and under budget Queensferry Crossing, which support thousands of Scottish jobs - getting the decisions right is vital.
Getting support from the people around you helps a lot in getting those decisions right and I've been fortunate to be in Nicola Sturgeon's Ministerial team and able to walk into her office to discuss issues has been a great help. I've also been able to rely on my previous life experiences and my political grounding in the SNP over the last 30 years.
I was born and brought up in Edinburgh before I joined the Marines - 45 Commando based in Arbroath. My experiences there made me aware of the extent to which our veterans have been badly treated by successive Westminster Governments; people who put their lives on the line on the orders of politicians have been denied help to fit back into civilian life in far too many cases, and the best help they get is from others who were in uniform with them. That's been my driving force as Veterans Minister in the Scottish Government, doing my best to get a better outcome for good, honest people who have served us all.
After leaving military service I studied politics at Dundee University and went on to be a council officer with Stirling Council. I stood for the SNP in Westminster and European elections before being elected to Clackmannanshire Council and becoming leader of the council. We had to deal with some tough financial conditions but we ran a good council through keeping clear heads on spending priorities. During our period of administration we gained the accolade of "best council in Scotland" according to Audit Scotland.
I believe I've got the life experience and the political experience and my commitment to Scotland's independence and wellbeing is unbending. We have a hard job ahead of us and I want to play my full part in it.