New Candidates Announcing National Office Intent

As we enter the home stretch towards the biannual Nation Convention and election of officers for the Order we are receiving official announcements of members seeking higher office.

New Jersey State President Jere Cole has announced that he will run for AOH National Office this July in Cincinnati Ohio at the National Convention.  Jere’s Irish heritage has always been an important aspect of his life.  It is this pride that has led him to become involved in a number of Irish American organizations.  Among these organizations is the Ancient Order of Hibernians Division #9, Essex County New Jersey for the past 20 years.  Jere has chaired a number of committees & is currently a past president, and also serves on the State Board of the AOH executive committee where he was elected to the Hibernian Charity Board and is currently the New Jersey State Board President.  Jere is also an active member of the following organizations: The Cryan Association, Giblin Association, Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh, Heritage Festival Ball past chairman, Vailsburg Irish American Association, Essex County Emerald Society, Irish American Cultural Institute, Ironbound Irish American Association, The Irish American Assn. of Northwest Jersey, Frank McGovern Association, Belleville Irish American Association and the Joseph Nugent Sr. Association. Jere is an active member of the Newark Saint Patrick’s Day Parade committee. He has held numerous positions including General Chairman 2003-04 and is also a member of the West Orange Saint Patrick’s Parade committee.  Jere was the General Chairman of the 30th Annual New Jersey Irish Festival in June of 2000.

Joe Dougherty of North Carolina announced that he will run for National Secretary.  Joe’s resume includes serving as Past National Director, Past South Carolina State President, Past South Carolina State Organizer, Past South Carolina Division President.  He is currently a Division President in North Carolina, Mecklenburg County Board Vice President and serves as North Carolina State Organizer.  As he looks forward towards his campaign for National Secretary at the 2010 National Convention in Cincinnati, Joe stated, “My platform will be very simple, it is time to move the office of National Secretary into the 21 Century.”

National Pro-Life Chair and Immediate Past New York State President Matt Nelligan recently announced his candidacy for the office of National Director. Elected as State President at age 34, he was the youngest person to be elected to the presidency. During his time in office, he made significant progress toward modernizing the recruitment and public relations efforts of the AOH. In addition, he helped to raise more than $20,000 for AOH related charities and expanded our Order into two counties that had never before had an AOH Presence. In February of 2008 he was selected by the Irish Echo newspaper was one of the top 40 Irish-American leaders under the age of 40 in the United States.

A member of the AOH since 1992, Mr. Nelligan served on the NYS AOH board since 1999 in every elected office including the offices of President, vice president, treasurer and secretary. He was selected to be general chairperson for the 2007 New York State AOH convention and in 2008 was appointed as the National Chairman of Pro-Life.  As National Pro-Life chairman Matt has worked hard to engage our membership on important public policy issues and to expand our presence at the annual March for Life in Washington DC.  Professionally, Mr. Nelligan serves as the Committee Director for the New York State Senate Energy and Telecommunications Committee as well as Legislative Director for its Chairman Senator George Maziarz. Matt is also President of the Irish 2000 Music and Arts Festival– one of the largest celebrations of Irish culture in the United States – marking its 14th anniversary in 2010. Since its inception, the not-for-profit festival has raised more than $350,000 to assist local and Irish charities.

Mr. Nelligan is a past Hibernian of the Year for his Division in Albany NY and has also been recognized as the recipient of the prestigious Father John Murphy award in 2008. In 2009, he was also recognized by his brothers from Division 9 in New York City as their “Guest of Honor”.  Matt is a past committee member and one-time committee chairman of the Doors of Hope benefit concert that raised more than $50,000 for Father Des Wilson’s Community Centers in Belfast and Derry and is a past Vice-Chairman of the Irish American Heritage Museum.  A graduate of Siena College in Loudonville NY, he received his master’s degree from The College of St. Rose in Albany NY. He and his wife, Jennifer, live in Guilderland NY with their two daughters, Molly and Emily.

Montana’s O’Connor Announces Bid for National Director With the full support of his Brother Hibernians, Montana’s Mike O’Connor has announced his intent to seek the office of National Director at the 2010 National Convention in Cincinnati. A member of the Thomas Francis Meagher Division of the AOH for nearly 25 years, he has held his Major Degree since 1991 when the Tara Court Major Degree Team came to Montana.  Following his service as Division and State Presidents, he became active nationally by arousing the interest in the West for the AOH.  Mike was elected to the position of National Director in 2000 and re-elected in 2002.  Brother Mike continues to be very active in AOH activities in Montana.  Just this past year Mike was part of the committee responsible for erecting a monument to Thomas Francis Meagher in Fort Benton, the location of his demise.  It was a difficult year to take on such a project considering the country’s economic downturn, but it was a huge success and a great Irish celebration.  Mike says, I would like to bring back to the National Board that “can do” attitude we have here in Montana. Mike has always considered it an honor to be a member of the Ancient Order of Hibernians and a great privilege to serve as an officer. He asks Brother Hibernians across the country to support his effort in seeking the position as National Director.

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