Sunday, January 24, 2010
Chris O’Connor - Candidate Profile
The third in my series of candidate profiles is that of Chris O’Connor, the Independent Candidate for Calder Valley.
Chris O’Connor has been living in the Hipperholme and Lightcliffe area since he and his wife Dorothy moved there from Kent in 1973.
They have 3 grown up children who were all born in the Maternity Unit at Halifax Royal and all went to local schools, taking part in various activities.
Chris's early involvement in the community was as a member of a parent group and as a governor at Hipperholme Infants School where all three of his children started their academic life.
He became a member of the Hipperholme Methodist Church and subsequently a member of Christchurch Local Ecumenical Partnership based at Christchurch, Hipperholme Cross Roads.
He was first elected to Calderdale Council in 1988 and represented the Hipperholme and Lightcliffe ward for the Conservative Party for the next seven years.
Chris spent further 4 years on Calderdale Council representing Town Ward first as a member of the Conservative group and then in 2003 leaving the party to become an Independent.
Between 2001 – 2002 he served as Mayor of Calderdale.
Since failing to be re-elected he has continued to be involved within the community:
He has been fighting changes in the local Unitary Development Plan and Local Development Framework as Chair of the Hipperholme and Lightcliffe Environmental Group, a small ad hoc group capable of collecting up to 800 individual signed objections to planning changes.
Through this group contact has been made with other concerned groups within the Calder Valley regarding the changes we are facing to local environment from the Local Development Framework. They are looking at a loss of employment land and a large increase in housing within the constituency supported by both the Labour Housing Minister and the Conservative Shadow Minister.
As Chairman of Governors for Park Lane High he is trying to steer the school to a National Challenge Trust status, partnered by Huddersfield University, Pennine 2000, Local Authority and the Brooksbank Sports College.
Other local participation of Chris's includes serving as Vice Chair Northern Area Committee Jephson Housing Group, and as a member of the Halifax and Calder Valley Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Calderdale/Strakonice(Czech Republic) Twin Link.
His career history includes 9 years in the Army, serving in Europe, the Middle East and the Far East, working with the Royal Navy and United States Air Force. Since leaving the Armed Forces, he has worked in Engineering and Construction and suffered the effects of previous recessions both as a member of the workforce and in a managerial capacity.