It’s not every day you see the name Doherty on a ballot paper alongside that of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney - but that’s exactly what happened this week in the United States when one of Derry’s very own successfully stood for election in Florida.
Keith Doherty, who’s just been elected on to Jacksonville Beach City Council in the Sunshine State, has been living in the US for more than ten years.
Speaking after his election victory this week, Keith told the ‘Journal’ of his local links: “I was born in Derry in 1973 and lived there until 1986 when I moved to Belfast. My dad, Pearse, is originally from Creggan but now lives here in Jacksonville Beach. My mother, Fionnuala (nee Breslin) currently lives in Manorcunningham near Letterkenny.
“I came to the States in 2001 and initially had no plans to stay but met my wife Grace Ann and have been here in Jacksonville Beach ever since.
“We have two boys: Connor (9) and Liam (5). I am involved in the family business, ‘Lynch’s Irish Pub’, which I run with my sister Nicola and my dad.”
Keith said he decided to run for public office when he realised how “our local government operates and made the determination that I could offer a lot of ideas - especially in the business realm”.
“Jax Beach has so much economic potential which is grossly underdeveloped,” he says. “With our wonderful coastline and favorable climate, tourism needs to be promoted more both locally and internationally.
“It was an experience being on the same ballot as the Presidential candidates which will make for good stories for the grand kids.
“This year, more than previous, both mainstream parties were extremely polarized and became increasingly negative towards each other as Election Day got closer.
“The Beaches area of Duval County [where Keith stood for election] is predominantly of a Republican persuasion so today there are a lot of disappointed Romney supporters whereas the Democrats are really quite graceful in their victory.
“Nevertheless, locally and nationally, there is a ton of work to be done and I am so happy with my 75% to 25% victory, especially since many people still think ‘I talk funny!”