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Dumfries and Galloway Council

Meet the scientists!


Councillor for:

Eleven years


Liberal Democrats

Council job:

Chairman of Education Committee and Leader of the Lib Dem group of three in total.


Partner in an electrical contracting firm.


Sandra McDowall

Council is interviewing for the new Assistant Chief Executive post today. This is the first step in a restructuring process that will make a big contribution towards our savings target. It is a really important post and is the reason why I'm unable to be part of the school debates today. I'm really sorry; it would have been nice to meet some of you personally but I hope you understand. Enjoy the rest of the process.

Favourite Thing: I love the people, the quality and pace of life and being able to access the countryside and enjoy the wonderful scenery.

Me and my council work

I’m a Councillor for the Mid Galloway Ward.

Being a Councillor is great fun. You meet lots of really interesting people and the work is so varied that it is never boring. I love my ward work as it means attending all the Community Council meetings in my area which helps keep me in touch with the issues that are important to the people I represent. I also get a lot of pleasure and feel privileged to be the Chair of the Education Committee. You all know how important Education is and I find it rewarding to be a part of the decision making process that will improve the future prospects for all of our young folks. I also find it rewarding to sit on the Social Work Services Committee. It is a really important committee as the decisions taken can make a big difference to the lives of the elderly and vulnerable in Dumfries and Galloway. I’m also a member of Resources Committee and DGFirst and each committee has its own challenges, particularly now as the Council faces such an enormous budget reduction.

My Typical Day

Always busy and often difficult trying to find time for everything.

My day starts early as I normally have to be in Dumfries by 9.30am and my journey takes  over an hour on the busy A75. The Lib Dems have a room on the first floor and I head there first to make any necessary phone calls and catch up on emails. No two days are the same but morning committee meetings start at 10.30am and the hour before is spent going through the committee business with the other Administration Group members. Afternoon meetings start at 2pm and it can be after 5pm before I leave English Street to make the journey home again, grab something to eat and head back out to an evening meeting. My ward covers, Isle of Whithorn, Whithorn, Garlieston, Wigtown, Kirkcowan and Newton Stewart and all have monthly Community Council meetings. I’m also involved with the Wigtown Festival Company, Machars Action, Newton Stewart Museum and Newton Stewart Cinema so there is always a lot happening. As I’m out such a lot, I don’t have much time for watching TV but I do watch the news at least once a day. I also record lots of programmes fully intending to watch them later but I never do find the time.

What I'd do as "Youth Champion"

Continue as always, listening to and respecting the views of young people.

Young people are, obviously, important to me and I’d like to continue serving on the Youth Strategy Executive Group. I find the debate stimulating and am always amazed at the knowledge and understanding shown by the young people during discussions on what are often controversial issues. There are other age groups to consider, however, and I always try to listen carefully to all opinions and endeavour to do my best for everyone in Dumfries and Galloway. I will continue to make Education a priority; young people deserve to be taught in  well maintained schools and have easy access to sport and leisure activities. I will also do my best to maintain the current level of support for the elderly and vulnerable.

My Interview

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

I couldn’t possibly describe myself in three words – I’ll leave that to you.

Who is your favourite singer or band?

Rod Stewart

What is the most fun thing you've done?

Riding on the Hukka Falls Jet when I was on holiday in New Zealand.

If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!

That I continue in good health, keep my sense of humour and remain optimistic for the future.

What did you want to be after you left school?

Nothing, I just wanted a job!

Were you ever in trouble in at school?

Once and when I know you better I might consider telling you about it!

What's the best thing you've done as a councillor?

Opened the refurbished County Buildings in Wigtown, something I had worked for for many years.

Tell us a joke.

I seldom remember jokes but my grandson, aged five, told me this one recently. “What did the biscuit say when it was run over by a car?” Oh, crumbs!