A teacher by profession, she was first elected to Edinburgh District Council as a member of the Scottish Labour Party to represent the Telford ward in 1984, later becoming leader of the district council. In 1996 she was elected to represent the Muirhouse and Drylaw ward in the new City of Edinburgh unitary authority. Following the local elections in May 2007 she is now one of four councillors representing the new Inverleith ward.
She was elected the Lord Provost of Edinburgh on 8 May 2003, succeeding Eric Milligan, however following elections on 3 May 2007, the Labour Party lost overall control of the City of Edinburgh and was succeeded in the office of Lord Provost by Liberal Democrat George Grubb.
At the 2011 Scottish Parliament elections she stood as Labour's candidate in the Edinburgh Western constituency. The seat was won by Colin Keir of the SNP. Hinds came third behind Keir and the Liberal Democrat's Margaret Smith, who had held the seat since 1999.
Hinds is currently the Convenor of Edinburgh's Transport, Infrastructure and Environment Committee.
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