John Blair has been selected as new Alliance MLA for South Antrim.
Mr Blair will replace David Ford, who has announced he will step down at the end of this week.
He is a Councillor on Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council, representing the Glengormley Urban ward and previously serving as Deputy Mayor of the Borough. He will resign the position before taking up the role as MLA early next week.
The 52-year-old, who will become the first openly gay MLA in the Assembly, said he was looking forward to tackling the issues facing South Antrim in his new role.
“I am honoured and delighted to have been selected as the new Alliance MLA for South Antrim by my colleagues and party members. I want to also pay tribute to David Ford, whose leadership and vision has helped grow the party both in the constituency and wider,” he said.
“I will be looking to build on my previous work as Councillor and provide a strong Alliance voice for local people, here in South Antrim and also in the Assembly. We are a growing party and we are already hitting the ground running ahead here of next year’s Council elections.
“Since deciding to run for the MLA seat, I have received support and encouragement from right across the community, showing the progressive and positive alternative Alliance represents. I want to be carrying out all the duties of an MLA, so it is vital the Secretary of State calls all-party talks with an independent mediator immediately, so we can all get back to Stormont and do the job people want us to do.
“I look forward to doing just that, while representing all the people of South Antrim and providing a strong voice for them, whether rural or urban.”