Cllr David Harding - Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council,
David was born in Carlisle and raised in the South West of Scotland. After qualifying as a Veterinary Surgeon he moved to Coleraine in 1984 where he has worked mainly in the farm animal side of the practice ever since. David has represented his profession both locally and nationally and currently serves the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons dealing with complaints against Veterinary Surgeons across the UK. David has been active in politics for the last 16 years and was a Councillor on Coleraine Borough Council for several years, becoming Mayor in 2013-14, he was elected to the new Causeway Coast and Glens Council on its foundation and is the Council's Mental Health Champion.
"I have lived and worked in the East Londonderry Constituency for more than 30 years and have a real love and respect for the people who live here. It is my aim to present a centre-right non-sectarian, progressive and modern political philosophy to the people of East Londonderry, a genuine alternative to tribalism and the politics of fear.
I have consistently argued for responsible financial planning in local government and to the creation of a business friendly, low rates environment. I am proud that the establishment on the outskirts of Coleraine of the fist Enterprise Zone in Northern Ireland with the associated multi-million pound investment in a Data Centre is directly related to my personal initiative in bringing together key individuals five years ago.
It seems wrong to me that our children are educated separately according to religion and firmly believe that schools should be desegregated at all levels. I recognise that many schools in the constituency at both primary and post-primary levels are working together but the excessively complex educational management structure works against good practice and hinders those who want to work in partnership.
The North Coast community has been particularly badly served by political interference in the provision of health services. the Causeway Hospital has been consistently undervalued and underfunded and the lack of clear direction has lead to insecurity for staff and patients. It is time to develop a properly funded long term plan for the proper provision of health services which is not bound by the constraints of artificial Health Board boundaries. I have a particular interest in the provision of support for people with mental health issues and am working with a number of groups to deliver an initiative in Causeway Coast and Glens designed to take the stigma out of mental illness."