ULSTER Unionist MLA Jo-Anne Dobson is “thrilled and delighted” to have been elected to represent Upper Bann in the new Northern Ireland Assembly.
Jo-Anne - who is believed to be the first ever female Unionist MLA to be elected for the area - said the reception she received on doorsteps prior to the election was “fantastic”,
Speaking after her election at last Friday’s count in Banbridge Leisure Centre, she said, “I am proud and deeply humbled to be elected to represent the people of Upper Bann at Stormont and I would like to thank everyone who voted for me.
“The reception on the doorsteps during the campaign was fantastic. I was thrilled to get the opportunity to meet and chat with so many people. I would like to thank those who followed me on Facebook throughout the campaign and those who have taken the time to send me messages of congratulations, texts and cards.
“I also extend thanks to my dedicated campaign team and countless friends and family members who worked tirelessly throughout; also the electoral staff and counting teams who worked until 3am on Saturday morning to complete the count.”
The UUP’s share of the vote in Upper Bann has risen by 3.4 per cent over their 2007 performance and Mrs Dobson will now join her female party colleague from Mid-Ulster, Sandra Overend.
“The party has put in place measures to improve the gender balance amongst its elected representatives and their election proves that these measures are working,” she added.
On note of disappointment, she said she was saddened that her party colleague, Colin McCusker, did not get elected.
“Colin fought a tremendous campaign and I know that he will continue to make a huge contribution to the future of Ulster Unionist politics,” said Jo-Anne. “The people of Banbridge, Lurgan, Portadown and the surrounding areas have spoken with a loud voice by electing two Ulster Unionist MLA’s, as my party colleague Sam Gardiner was elected alongside me.
“The message is clear - this area remains a strong Ulster Unionist Constituency. During the election campaign I stated that I would provide every constituent of Upper Bann with a strong, local voice and as I take my place in Stormont I will do just that.
“I will be part of a strong Ulster Unionist Assembly team who have pledged to make Stormont work for all of us.
“I am thrilled and delighted to be elected and am thoroughly looking forward to the weeks and months of hard work ahead.”