Danny Kennedy and Councillor Sam Nicholson have been selected as the Ulster Unionist Party`s Assembly candidates for Newry & Armagh.
The party leader Mike Nesbitt described the due as a “game-changing” team in a constituency largely dominated by nationalists.
Mr Kennedy is a serving MLA and former Minister at Stormont while Mr Nicholson is in his first term as a councillor in Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council.
Mr Nesbitt MLA, said: “My message to the electorate of Newry & Armagh is simple - I hear you, I understand Northern Ireland isn’t working properly and you are looking for someone to lead the change that will Make It Work.
“On May 5 you will have a straight choice: Change or more of the same. Danny Kennedy and Sam Nicholson are my idea of a game changing team.
“Danny Kennedy`s name is synonymous with public service and loyalty. He has built up a reputation over many years for hard work and commitment to his constituents. Sam Nicholson burst onto the political scene as part of the Ulster Unionist revival in the 2014 local government elections. In the last two years, he has made a big impact in a short space of time, bringing his experience of work in the private sector to Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council.
“Together they represent the blend I believe can drive change on back of the vision I recently outlined for how to make it work at Stormont.”
Mr Kennedy said he was “delighted and honoured” to have been selected again.
“I believe I have the necessary experience and commitment to address the current challenges and help chart a positive course for all of the people of this constituency. This will be a crucial election and important choices need to be made for the future good government of Northern Ireland,” he added.
“I believe Stormont can deliver so much more - this is not as good as it could or should be - that is why the Ulster Unionist Party is seeking to increase our representation at Stormont, and I’m delighted that my party colleague and good friend, Cllr Sam Nicholson, has also been selected in this constituency. Together, I feel we can offer the electors of Newry & Armagh a genuine fresh start and not the stale political carve-up served up by the two parties currently in power.
“As the longest serving Assembly member for this constituency, I understand the issues which need to be addressed by Stormont in terms of re-vitalising the local economy by helping our indigenous small businesses - including those in our town and city centres, addressing the problems in the agricultural industry and pressing for vital improvements to our infrastructure and connectivity.”
Mr Nicholson said: “I am a firm believer in devolution but I, like many of the electorate, feel let down by what has passed for politics in Northern Ireland’s devolved institutions and some have lost all faith in the process with the continual under achieving on the issues that matter. This cannot be as good as it gets, it is time for a change, with new voices and ideas, and I want to be part of that as a member of a strong Ulster Unionist Party at Stormont. It will be my intention to strive to help every citizen of Newry & Armagh and do everything I can as an elected representative to make it a better place to live, work and socialise.”
“We have a great team assembled, and I can’t wait to engage with the electorate, promoting our message alongside Danny Kennedy, delivering the Ulster Unionist Party’s vision and doing what`s right for Northern Ireland.”