A new Assembly brought in a few new faces, some younger some older. Ambitious parties are constantly on the lookout for new talent and fresh voices, and there are a number to choose from at local government level as well. The dispensation requires a new generation of politician who can reach out of a new audience and who are likely to shape future politics in Northern Ireland. And the winner is….Winner: Daithi McKay.
Daithi was the youngest of all the MLAs elected on 7 March 2007 Assembly Election. He polled over 7,000 votes and was elected on the first count when he topped the poll. He sits on the Policing Board. For a relative ingenue, he made immediate impacts over plans for the Giant’s Causeway Visitor’s, which ultimately derailed a dilligent research terrier like vigour and the intense scrutiny generated certainly caused more than ripples.
He has impressed with his energy courage and committment to the job. He’s also one of the first MLA’s (after Dawn Purvis of the DUP) to seriously start his own blog.
Commended: Simon Hamilton.
Simon was a favourite of the readers’ panel, and is widely admired by colleagues across party lines in Stormont. He was elected to Ards Borough Council in 2005 and became an MLA in 2007 elected on the 14th count. Since then he has brought a range of skills of legislative and communicative skills, not to mention a sense of humour in committees, which may go some way to explaining his popularity amongst other lawmakers.
Commended: Basil McCrea.
Within his party Basil has built himself and substantial profile in a relatively short space of time. A local councillor, he unsuccessfully contested the 2005 General Election in Lagan Valley for the UUP, but was elected to the Assembly in the 2007 Assembly Election, in March 2007. He is alps Party Spokesperson for Education and is a member of the Education Committee in the Assembly.
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty