Over the last few days the ‘Journal’ has introduced readers to three of the seven candidates looking for your vote on May 7.
Next up, is UUP Westminster candidate for Foyle, Julia Kee.
Q1 - Why should the people of Foyle vote for you on May 7?
Julia Kee:- “I am a local woman, born and bred in the city and constituency and have worked in the community development and peace building initiatives for the past ten years.
These include supporting the establishment of the Londonderry Bands Forum through a Peace III funded project called Gateway to Protestant Participation as well as working with groups across the city from the Bogside to the Waterside in my previous role in Derry City Council Good Relations Officer and my current role as Community Development Coordinator in Tullyally.
“I believe that I would be a strong advocate for Londonderry at Westminster and a tireless worker on behalf of all the people of the City and District.”
Q2 - What are the greatest challenges facing the Foyle constituency at present?
Julia Kee: “Obviously unemployment is a major issue within the local area. More needs to be done to attract jobs to the area and retain those jobs that we have already.
“We must also work to ensure that our young people leave education equipped with skills and qualifications that prepare them for the modern workplace.
“Londonderry is afflicted by a violent element which seems intent on dragging us back to the darkest days this city and the country ever experienced. People must make a choice, and they must stand with the police to help remove gangsters and criminals from our communities and ensure people can live peacefully with their neighbours and get on with their lives.
“I also want to see more done to build bridges and improve community relations in the city to build a genuinely shared future.
“The minority community has a long and proud history in Londonderry and I believe it has a major contribution to make to the economic, social, political and cultural life of this city in the future. We must support initiatives that will promote tolerance and understanding and build a City in which diversity is not just tolerated but welcomed and celebrated.”
Q3 - Foyle has been an SDLP stronghold for over 30 years, if voted in what would you and your party do differently?
Julia Kee: “As an unashamed Unionist I would welcome the opportunity for the city to be represented at Westminster by someone who is fully committed to maintaining and strengthening the links between Northern Ireland and Great Britain.
“I would do my utmost to capitalise on the historic links between the city and London which I believe have still not been fully exploited in terms of tourism and investment. London is a world capital and we should exploit the links which have developed over 400 plus years as part of as shared heritage and history that can serve us well into the future.
“As a city and region I do not feel that we have capitalised on the historic position we are in. We have an historic walled city which played a pivotal role (the most important in my opinion) in Europe becoming a democratic continent. The history surrounding the Siege of Derry and our many great historical buildings, homes and ancestry needs to be highlighted and the story told and sold to a much wider audience. So that the outside world understands that this is an area as an area, not only to be proud to be from, but also a great place in which to work, do business and visit.”
Q4 - How would you and your party help the people in Foyle realise a better quality of life?
Julia Kee: “Quite simply, by focusing on the issues which can really make a difference to their lives. Education, employment, jobs, investment, housing and health care. Many of these are devolved issues which are dealt with at Stormont, but Westminster legislation is often the precursor to Stormont action.
“I would therefore commit to working closely with colleagues at Stormont to ensure that we deliver real and tangible benefits for the people of the Foyle constituency so that they know that Ulster Unionists can be relied upon to do what’s right for Londonderry and what is right for Northern Ireland.”