AS a child, Katy Gordon used to wonder why her friends didn’t put their hands up when they knew the answers to the questions the teachers were asking. It concerned her when she realised it was because they were scared of what other pupils would think.

Growing up, she became convinced people should not be bound by conformity or constrained by the opinions of others. She found these ideas reflected in the philosophy of the Liberal Democrats but with a demanding full-time job as a careers adviser – first in schools and colleges, later working with employers to help recruit young people and now running the careers service of the University of Strathclyde – she did not feel the need to join the party until Charles Kennedy was in the running for leader back in 1999.

Inspired by him she decided to join, and is now first on the list for the West of Scotland and constituency candidate for Strathkelvin and Bearsden.

“I had always voted Liberal but sometimes you need a push to join, and I wanted to make sure Kennedy was leader,” Gordon remembers. “I did not join because I wanted to be involved in party politics but because of the Liberal ideas Charles Kennedy articulated.”

However, her abilities were soon recognised and she was asked to be a candidate in 2005 in Glasgow South West against Ian Davidson.

While her chances of winning were minimal, she discovered through campaigning with Jo Swinson in East Dunbartonshire that she loved hearing about what people were thinking, what their concerns were and what they needed.

“My professional life is all about helping people to aspire – to look at what is possible, help them to overcome obstacles and give them confidence to achieve what they are aiming for. It is often about giving hope to young people that they can change their lives. In political campaigning that is what we are doing too, and that is what I would do as an MSP.”

A key point in her political career came in 2007, when post offices were being closed all over the country. There were two in particular that Gordon thought could be saved – Hyndland and Kelvindale – so, although she had never run a campaign before, she knocked on doors, started a petition and involved the community council and the media. To her delight, both post offices were saved.

Since then the 50-year-old has been involved in several campaigns, including the one to stop the nightclub in the Botanic Gardens and the school closure programme. She was also campaign manager for Jo Swinson ahead of last year’s General Election.

If elected, Gordon is sure she could bring her expertise in education to help form policy. “I have worked in education for over 20 years and have worked with employers as well as students, so I know what skills they need,” she says. “I want to make sure that education supports all young people to fulfil their potential. I could bring my professional skills and experience to the parliament as I have not come straight from university to work as an MSP – I’ve had a lifetime of working outside politics.

She adds: “I think there is a need for Liberal voices in Parliament and we also need more women. I want the Scottish Government to stop blaming other people and use the powers we now have to make Scotland the best again."

“People want improvements to their local roads and they don’t want to have to fundraise for text books for their children – that’s ridiculous. We are getting new powers so let’s use them.

“Sometimes at the university we can talk round the houses before making a decision but I like to get on with things. If I see something is wrong I want to do something about it as I have this burning sense of injustice that makes me need to act. I can’t sit there and do nothing.”