Meet Cara Hunter
I never thought I would end up sitting in the Northern Ireland Assembly as an SDLP MLA and it is an absolute privilege to do so. The last few months have been a whirlwind of excitement, challenges and introduction. I am so grateful for this opportunity, to follow in the footsteps of the political giant, our own John Dallat.
I never thought I would end up as an MLA, but least of all an MLA trying to operate during a global pandemic! The last few months have presented unique challenges for any elected representative to engage with the electorate - however I have ensured consistent availability online for my constituents, via Zoom, email and multiple social media platforms. My leaflets are currently printing - as soon as further restrictions lift I will be knocking doors.
Since being co-opted I have been working on a multitude of different issues, securing funding for rural GAA clubs and community groups. Rural communities often feel neglected so I made sure to lead with lots of engagement in these areas.
As Mental Health Spokesperson, I have continued to ask the Health minister what he has considered with rural areas post COVID due to limited access and limited transport. I have also enquired regarding elderly loneliness which has only been worsened by this global pandemic.
In addition to this, COVID has presented an increase in holiday refunding issues and recently I have been working on repatriation cases - returning East Derry citizens from Peru and China.
Working on a cross-constituency basis, Sinead McLaughlin MLA and I have had meetings about breaking barriers and development between East Derry and Derry city, discussions on the City Deal and around university transport and city links.
More locally, I have been on the ground with constituents reporting the need for lower speed limits and more traffic calming measures. I am also working on improving the availability of recycling bins as they are desperately needed due to the influx of tourists. Looking forward to the months ahead!