Running forState Representative - Hillsborough 15 (Ward 8)
Running as Democrat
My name is Brandon Lemay and I’m running for State Rep in Manchester Ward 8. As a lifelong Granite Stater, I have a love for my community and desire to change it for the better. Instead of moving out of state to “hip” places like Brooklyn, DC, Denver, Boston, etc, I made a conscious decision to stay in my hometown where I felt like I could make a big impact.
I see how much the housing crisis has affected the working class families of Manchester. More than half of renters in NH are paying more than 30% of their income on housing when I believe that nobody should be paying more than 30% of their income on housing
Elected Chief Steward of my union’s AFSCME chapter
Current jobHousing Justice Organizer at Rights & Democracy
Cashier, Dishwasher, Bank Teller, Certified Pharmacy Technician, campaign organizer
Current residence36 Lynx Way
Time lived in NHAll 29 years of my life
West High Graduate 2011, studied Political Science and French at Plymouth State University, working on getting my last few credits for my bachelors degree
Best way to contact candidateFacebook, Twitter, cell, or email
If elected or re-elected, please describe legislation you expect to sponsor or co-sponsor.
I want to introduce more workforce housing options to alleviate the the housing crisis which I see in two main problems:
- Rent Gouging/Lack of meaningful tenant protections
- Restrictive state and local ordinances that prevent homeowners and developers from improving or building more housing. On this point, I’d like to give cities and towns more power to enact things like affordability requirements on new development.
- End source of income discrimination for renters
What are the most important concerns you’ve heard from Manchester residents and how can you address those concerns if elected or re-elected?
I hear a lot about homelessness in my ward. The people who are experiencing homelessness are facing things like lack of access to waste disposal, bathrooms, and regular showers. Conditions at the local shelter are inhumane and I don’t blame anybody who chooses a tent over Manchester’s only year round adult homeless shelter.
It also negatively affects my housed neighbors because they have to see the upsetting reality that comes from a lack of housing. Nobody wants to walk by an encampment of tents as they walk their kids to school.
The second most common issue I’m seeing is skyrocketing costs, especially their utility bills.
New Hampshire legislators are citizen legislators and being a legislator is a significant time commitment. How much time per week can you spend on legislative duties while the Senate/House is in session?
I’m 100% dedicated to this job as a public servant if elected. My work has a generous paid time off policy and the ability to work on weekends if I have legislative duties during the week.
How do you feel the current divisive political climate in the United States will impact the New Hampshire General Court over the next two years and how would you navigate that divisiveness in your duties?
I think divisive is an overused word in politics. I get called “divisive” from my own party members when I bring up unaddressed grievances that need to be talked about, but I don’t consider that a bad thing.
I’m willing to talk to anybody whether it’s a Democrat, Republican, Libertarian, and anything else. I currently organize with all of the above to work on affordable housing solutions.
When it comes to tenant protections, some Republicans and most Democrats agree with me there. When it comes to increasing housing supply and easing zoning restrictions, I’ve worked with Libertarians and Republicans.
If I see an issue, I’ll try to pitch it in a way that resonates with the person or group I’m talking with. Last, I think personal relationships help a lot when working through divisiveness. Maybe I won’t agree with another lawmaker, but I’ll get a cup of coffee with them anytime to talk things out.
What is the most significant issue facing Manchester residents at the municipal level and how can you, as a legislator aid the city government on that issue?
Homelessness, Housing, and a lack of a workforce that can afford to live here.I think that the city has its hands tied when it comes to what it can do around affordable housing. As far as I’m aware, we can’t even take some of the property taxes collected in Manchester and apply it to the city’s affordable housing trust fund. We can’t enact tenant protections like right to counsel, eviction mediation, or limits on rent increases, some of which are in excess of 100% with only 30 days notice.
In your conversations with voters, what is the most significant issue to them right now? How would you address that if elected or re-elected?
I’m hearing a lot about inflation, it’s really cutting into people’s paychecks. Food, housing, transportation and just about everything else is going up while paychecks and fixed incomes don’t increase enough.
In your opinion, what were the five most significant pieces of legislation introduced over the last two years? Please explain what made them significant.
Sununu’s abortion ban
- This was the biggest restriction placed on abortion in the state’s history. Instead of the doctors and pregnant people making decisions, we put the government in the middle of that decision making process. Sununu’s 24 week ban did not include exceptions for incest or rape at first. and had to be fixed with follow up legislation.
Student choice vouchers
- This was the most successful attempt to defund public schools in NH. I believe that public schools are the basis for any healthy democracy. I do not feel good about taking public tax dollars and giving it to private institutions
HB 1291 (2022)
- While this bill died in committee, this would ban what we call “source of income discrimination”. Basically, we have dozens of people sitting in homeless shelters in NH who have housing choice vouchers with no landlord that will accept them.NH is the only New England state without this protection in place and I look forward to introducing another version of this bill if elected