Dolores Kelly hopes electorate will value her experience

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SDLP Assembly candidate Dolores Kelly is hoping her experience in the political arena will encourage the electorate to vote for her this week.

Mrs Kelly cut her teeth in Craigavon Council and has since moved on to represent Upper Bann in the Assembly, a position she is hoping to be returned to after Thursday’s election,

“When I first entered Craigavon Council there were huge banners in the windows proclaiming ‘Craigavon Says No’ to the Anglo Irish Agreement,” she explained. “This was at a time when there was still a lot of death and destruction on our streets and the heart was being torn out of our three town centres with bombs. I desperately wanted to change all that so that my children could have a different and better future.

“Craigavon Council was definitely an experience which has served me well as an MLA. I had the privilege of representing Loughside for 17.5 years. During this time I was privileged to serve as the first Nationalist Mayor of Craigavon from 1999-2000. This was definitely one of the highlights, but was tinged with sadness because my mother wasn’t there to see it.

“It was in my honour to follow in the footsteps of Brid Rodgers as MLA in Upper Bann in 2003. My responsibilities have included serving on Health, Justice, Environment, Employment & Learning, Social Development and more recently the Education Committee. I am also a member of The Policing Board since 2013. The signing of the Good Friday Agreement was the culmination of all that I along with my party had fought so hard for.

“It held out the promise of a different future free from violence with the building of partnership and reconciliation. Regretfully, progress in this area has been slower that we envisaged.

The most rewarding part of my job is being able to help people with their problems and being able to advocate strongly for changes in the law.”