New party pins Assembly hopes on Frazer McCammond
The leader of a new political party set up by a group of Christians in Dromore has said he is happy to be the new maverick at Stormont prepared to challenge the Executive if he is elected in May.
Frazer McCammond, who is standing for the Assembly elections in Lagan Valley, is no stranger to politics having been an executive member of the Alliance Party and a former Lisburn city councillor.
However, he left politics in 2001 vowing never to return after losing confidence in the Alliance Party and also due to ill health.
He said he is now back because he feels the Executive has let people down on issues of poverty and community and economic development.
Mr McCammond (59), a married father-of-three with two grandchildren, is a former business owner who now runs Canvastone, a social enterprise business in Dromore which provides training and work for disadvantaged young people.
He also managed a social enterprise scheme in Newry for some years and says his experience of working with disadvantaged adults along with his Christian faith drove him to help set up the new political party.
With a core group of around 50 members in Dromore, Mr McCammond says the party has been founded on core Christian values but is not affiliated to any denomination and is open to all.
Those involved, he says, do not have traditional political backgrounds and are motivated by a strong sense of social justice and faith, describing the party as 'One Diverse Community Political Party'. He said that helping to address increasing poverty levels in Northern Ireland and the lack of job opportunities will be high on his agenda if he gets into Stormont. He said: "Working in social enterprise has been a learning experience for me and a joy. It has opened my eyes to the value of the vulnerable in our society.
"I don't believe the Executive is doing enough to create jobs in the middle - they are either high end professional jobs or low end call centre jobs which to me smacks of desperation.
"I have a great burden for people in poverty. I worry about people who struggle and I think our politicians prefer not to see it."
Mr McCammond said he would like to see more people standing for election in a bid to "break the old grip" of the current political parties and he urged the 46% of the population who don't vote to use their voices.