Mid Ulster Unionists in "proud" tribute to outgoing MLA Sandra Overend

Outgoing Mid Ulster MLA Sandra Overend
Outgoing Mid Ulster MLA Sandra Overend

The chairman and members of Mid Ulster Unionist association have paid tribute to the "hard work" and "service" of outgoing MLA, Sandra Overend.

First elected as Ulster Unionist MLA for Mid Ulster in May 2011, Sandra had gathered over two decades of experience in politics after serving as office manager for her predecessor, campaign manager and father Billy Armstrong.

She lost her seat in the March election as Mid Ulster Assembly seats were reduced from six to five.

In a tribute to her work, the Mid Ulster group said: "She has without doubt made a profound impact within the constituency, the Assembly, and the party.

"Within the Ulster Unionist Party, Sandra has made a huge contribution, including her time as the Deputy Whip of the UUP Assembly Group, and as a party officer with responsibility for Women's Development, when she launched the Dame Dehra Parker Programme to encourage more women to become politically active.

"As a genuine and hardworking MLA, Sandra worked tirelessly to resolve issues affecting constituents and improve legislation to make peoples’ lives better across all of Northern Ireland. She has served on many Assembly committees and though not all contributions can be listed here, there are several that are worthy of particular note.

"With her knowledge and passion for supporting local businesses," they continued, "Sandra was the Economy Spokesperson for the Party, serving on the Enterprise, Trade and Investment Committee.

"She was also the Ulster Unionist Party’s Spokesperson for Children and Young People. In this position, she was determined to further the protection of children particularly through spearheading a campaign for a cross-departmental Internet Safety Strategy.

"More recently, Sandra had been an excellent Spokesperson for Education, serving on the Education Committee, with a period as Vice-Chairperson, and working toward introducing legislation to protect rural schools from presumptive closures, and the discrimination of teachers on the grounds of religion.

"We could not be prouder of Sandra’s contribution in the constituency and at the Assembly, and her presence and service to the people of Mid Ulster will without doubt be greatly missed."