Those of us who have knocked on doors recently know that this contest is about much more than choosing the next leader of the Scottish Labour Party.
Our vision for a fairer and more equal society that rewards and looks after the many, not just the wealthiest few, is one that resonates with people in every community. Increasingly, people are realising that only Scottish Labour can deliver the bold and radical change needed to transform our society.
Our party is on an election footing and this means we are working every day to make Jeremy Corbyn the next Prime Minister. Alongside the entire Labour and trade union movement, both of our leadership candidates are committed to this and they are both colleagues I hold in high regard.
After careful consideration, the candidate I am supporting to be the next First Minister of Scotland is Richard Leonard. I am rooting for Richard because I believe he is the right candidate at the right time and that he has the vision, experience and determination necessary to move our party forward.
Some say he hasn’t been an MSP for very long, but what they may not realise is that Richard was an influential figure in the campaign for the Scottish Parliament over two decades ago and has been a high profile figure in the trade union movement for years. It feels fitting that the opportunity to nominate Richard to be the leader of Scottish Labour coincides with the 20th anniversary of the devolution referendum.
Richard knows the workplaces of Scotland better than most, and he has developed a bold industrial strategy over the past year in Parliament that has been badly lacking. He is ready to lead and ready to govern and his experience and interests outside of Parliament only strengthen his hand.
From what I have seen outside of the political corridors, the reaction to Richard’s candidacy has been overwhelmingly positive. His authenticity, analysis and way of doing politics is appealing. For too long, people have felt that they have little influence over our political and economic systems, and that they face more barriers than opportunities. Richard will stand up for the rights of working people and across the Labour and trade union movement, people know Richard is ready to step up and lead our party and our country.
If our vision for a more equal Scotland with full employment in a sustainable economy, properly funded quality public services, dignity for our pensioners and hope for our young is your vision too, then join us and be an agent for change in our country. Richard needs the backing of working people in every community in Scotland.
Monica Lennon is a Scottish Labour MSP for Central Scotland Region and is the Scottish Labour Spokesperson on Inequalities.