Last week, the candidates standing for the constituency of Carrick, Cumnock and Doon Valley at this year's Holyrood elections were confirmed.

But with voting due to get underway at 7am on Thursday, May 6, many residents may be wondering about the background, life and future prospects of those hoping to represent them in the next term of the Scottish Parliament.

With that, it is time to put a face to a name and meet those who are hoping to win your vote at the ballot box in less than a month's time.

SNP's Elena Whitham:

Ayr Advertiser: Elena Whitham.Elena Whitham.

"I left Ayrshire with my parents at the age of six for Canada after years of strikes and the advent of Thatcherism reduced opportunities for my young parents locally.

"I returned to Ayrshire at the age of 22 in 1996 and it is where I am raising my family. I am passionate about the creation of local opportunities for our young people and improving the lives of all who call Ayrshire home. We have a fantastic vehicle to bring about real and lasting economic change in the Ayrshire Growth Deal and I want to ensure Carrick, Cumnock & Doon Valley benefits from this crucial inward investment as we emerge from the pandemic.

"Prior to being elected as a local councillor in 2015, I worked across Ayrshire for years in homelessness services and for a decade as a Women’s Aid worker. I successfully ran my own Slimming World franchise and had a tattoo shop in Kilwinning and a fair trade, organic shop in Prestwick called Green People. I was also senior caseworker for Alan Brown MP. Until recently I was the national Housing and Homelessness lead for the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities and I am currently the Depute Leader of East Ayrshire Council and Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities."

Scottish Labour's Carol Mochan:

Ayr Advertiser: Carol Mochan.Carol Mochan.

"I am a mother of two, grew up in Ayrshire, and attended Girvan Primary and Auchinleck Academy.

"I worked in the NHS for 17 years building up a wealth of experience around the needs of people.

"Today I run a small family business in Mauchline and am a well known community activist.

"With your support I will work tirelessly to give Carrick Cumnock and Doon Valley an MSP to be proud of. It's time we had an MSP who is local and puts the needs of the constituency first.

"Here are my 5 election pledges:

I will

• Strive for the investment needed to bring new sustainable jobs to our area.

• Support Labour's plans to restart the NHS by tackling the backlog and rebuilding social care.

• Fight for our schools and colleges to get the funding they need.

• Tackle poverty by backing decent family incomes.

• Give real powers back to the local council and our communities

"I will never take our area for granted. If you elect me to go to Holyrood, we will all go together. I believe these are good reasons to vote for me and Scottish Labour. Please use both your votes for Scottish Labour on May 6."

Lib Dem's Kirsten Herbst-Gray:

Ayr Advertiser: Kirsten Herbst-Gray.Kirsten Herbst-Gray.

"Kirsten was born in Güstrow, Germany and came to Scotland in 2001 having met and married her Scottish husband. She had witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989 as a pivotal moment in her life.

"She has been working as a secondary teacher of modern languages since 2001 and as a senior appointee for the SQA. She is also a published author. Kirsten is fluent in English, German, French and Russian.

"Kirsten started her political life campaigning for body worn cameras to support the Scottish police. Kirsten holds strong pro-European and Internationalist views. She believes that present and future problems affect all of us and can only be solved in a peaceful and collaborative way.

"Politically, Kirsten’s other passion is education: comprehensive, fair, and inclusive with equal opportunities for all.

"Kirsten is noted for her strong and deep-rooted principles and she is bold and fearless in her defence of them."

Conservative's Sharon Dowey: 

Ayr Advertiser: Sharon Dowey.Sharon Dowey.

"Born in Girvan and brought up in Maybole, I have lived and worked in Ayrshire all my life.  

"I am an Operations Manager with a major supermarket. Starting in the Deli when I was 16, appointed into my first managerial role by 20, and since then been responsible for a wide range of areas and worked all over the South West of Scotland. I am married to Martin, a former Police Officer, and we have three children.  

"I am a proud Unionist, I believe in Scotland being an integral part of the United Kingdom. We need to end the division and put all our focus on rebuilding the country after COVID, encourage investment and create jobs.  

"Restore standards in education by recruiting additional teachers.

"Put the rights of victims first and give tougher sentences to those who break the law.

"We need improvements to the A77, A70 and local road networks.   

"More good quality housing.  

"Stop the centralisation of power under the SNP and give power, and funding, back to the councils. 

Protect the NHS and keep hospital services local. 

"After 14 years of announcements from the SNP that they never delivered on, I decided it was time to get involved. The last few months of Holyrood have shown us the corruption and deceipt at the heart of this SNP Government, it is time for a new broom to sweep clean. It would be an honour to serve the community where I was born and brought up."