The formal launch of the DUP’s Upper Bann election campaign came with a pledge to fight “tooth and nail” for Banbridge and the wider constituency.
It was given voice by surprise newcomer to the Assembly race, Councillor Carla Lockhart, who was proud, she said, to contest the election in Upper Bann alongside running mate Sydney Anderson.
A fresh face on the ticket, Councillor Lockhart was nonetheless described by supporters this week as “ a seasoned politician who is not afraid to speak her mind and work hard for the people she represents”.
Her selection, it was argued, added an interesting element to the election race, in asmuch as her being a female candidate identified her as a direct challenger to the UUP’s Jo-Anne Dobson.
Councillor Lockhart herself said: ““I am absolutely delighted to have been selected as part of Arlene Foster’s DUP team to stand for election in the Upper Bann Constituency.
“Upper Bann is a great area and I love its character; its strong business base and the people are its real strength.
“I started my political journey within the constituency nine years ago when I was elected to represent Lurgan on council.
“I am so proud to be a part of this DUP team, along with my colleague Sydney Anderson, aimed at making Northern Ireland a stronger place.
“ I want to continue my work with schools, community groups, churches, and businesses. I know the issues affecting families, young people and senior citizens and I am prepared to take this to the assembly and fight tooth and nail for Banbridge and the whole of Upper Bann.
“The potential is immense for Upper Bann.
“Just like Arlene’s vision for Northern Ireland to be prosperous and a place we are proud of, I want the same for this great constituency.
“I have a plan for Upper Bann, a roadmap that will focus on jobs, infrastructure, education and improving our health provision.
“I pledge to continue with my hard work, energy and enthusiasm to make Upper Bann a great place to live, work and do business.”
Also standing in Upper Bann are the Ulster Unionist Party’s Jo-Anne Dobson, Kyle Savage and Doug Beattie, the Social Democratic and Labout Party’s Dolores Kelly, Sinn Fein’s John O’Dowd and Catherine Seeley, Traditional Unionist Voice’s Roy Ferguson, United Kingdown Independence Party’s’s David Jones, the Workers’ Party’s Martin Harte and the Progressive Unionist Party’s Sophie Long.