Running forWard 4 Alderman
Running as Non-Partisan Election
I’ve sat on three organizational boards, and since moving to Manchester, I’ve been active with multiple city nonprofits and civic groups. I also serve as a Ballot Inspector in Ward 4.
Elected Ward 4 Alderman in 2021
I worked at Liberty Mutual Insurance as a Lead Product Designer, also in Enterprise Technology. Previously, I've worked in advertising and in publications and was an adjunct professor of graphic design for five years.
I hold a BFA and an MFA in graphic design.
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WebsiteChristine 4 Alderman
Why are you running?
I’m running because I’m deeply invested in helping Manchester reach its full potential. I’m a resident-by-choice, I pay attention to local decision-making and politics, and I care about my ward and my city.
What uniquely qualifies you to be an Alderman?
I’ll draw heavily on my 20+ year career as a creative problem solver and on my focus of simplifying complex systems and processes to make them more user-friendly. My background has led me to become a strategic thinker with a unique ability to both see the big picture and connect the dots, and to get into the weeds to make smart, tactical decisions that lead to meaningful change. Additionally, I’m also known for my ability to establish trust, build consensus, and drive progress.
What do you see as the main function of an Alderman?
To connect people and government by ensuring that the collective community voice is represented at City Hall, where critical decisions are made that impact people’s day-to-day lives in a very real way. It’s also to be a steward of the City’s revenue and resources, and ensure that our dollars are spent wisely, with transparency, and the long-term good of the city and its people in mind.
What do you see as the key solution to reducing homelessness in the city?
I view homelessness a symptom of larger, more upstream problems. Lack of affordable housing, lack of access and/or engagement with programs and resources, lack of economic stability, and a lack of quality education. There are so many reasons why an individual might become homeless. Long-term, it’s critical that we approach all our decisions on the topics above through the lens of “how might this impact our city’s struggle with homelessness?” Solving this issue is a multifaceted challenge that will require a forward-thinking, well-rounded approach. In the short term, I support the recent establishment of both the role of Director of Homeless Initiatives, and more recently, the City Housing Commission. I would vote to extend them both to five years so that we’re well-positioned to attack the problem immediately, as well as think longer-term about addressing the root cause issues that lead to homelessness.
Do you feel that Manchester needs more affordable housing as defined by US HUD and NHHFA (costing no more than 30% of occupants' monthly income)? If so, how would you achieve this? If not, why not?
Yes. Affordable housing is an issue that impacts everyone—poor, middle class, and rich alike. It creates a ripple effect that can be felt in our local economy, our education outcomes, and in our city’s ability to attract and retain a younger, more diverse population, and outside economic investment—which have countless long-term implications for our city. To address this in the short term, we need more affordable units that are subsidized to stay at or below the 30% threshold. This will immediately free up a log jam that has a domino effect up and down the economic ladder. Lack of inventory is at the root of this issue. Our city needs to approach this with fresh eyes and be open to new and novel solutions. Let’s learn from other cities that have effectively addressed lack of housing and build a model that works for Manchester to create safe, clean, affordable housing options that enable upward mobility at all levels.
What are your thoughts on public safety in the city?
While crime rates across the city are trending down, public safety has the biggest, most immediate impact on our quality of life. As I’ve gone door-to-door in Ward 4, this issue is among the top concerns shared by residents, and they’re open to new ideas. If elected, I would immediately call for and help to formally organize a Neighborhood Network Pilot Program in Ward 4. It will directly engage residents to help monitor and report on public safety issues on their streets, and put residents and police in closer communication and coordination with one another. We’ll leverage modern technology like apps and websites, along with more analog measures like increased exterior lighting, volunteer safety escorts, and more. If we get it right in Ward 4, we can scale the program more broadly, ward by ward. When it comes to the bigger picture, public safety is interwoven with the many other issues our city is actively facing. Longterm, we will improve public safety when we address problems in our school district, in our housing supply, and in our job opportunities. As is the case for most issues facing our city, we cannot look at anything in a vacuum and we cannot think strictly in the short term.
Please provide one or more examples of a person, organization, or business that exemplifies the spirit of Manchester
I would like to acknowledge Manchester Proud. Not because they directly embody the spirit of Manchester, but rather because they were singularly focused on accurately representing it. As a user researcher myself (professionally), I have been continuously impressed by their efforts to engage community members from all stripes with varying stakes in the school district, to drive meaningful conversation. The level of community engagement is represented in multiple readouts and reports, which are fact-based, data-driven, and truly empathetic—as in, they weren’t out to judge anyone’s position, but instead simply to capture and give voice to it. Regardless of whether or not you agree with their vision or recommendations, there’s a level of credibility that we don’t often see in city-wide efforts of this magnitude. I applaud their approach and would suggest that future efforts in the city that aim to push bold change and action, take a page out of Manchester Proud’s playbook.
How would you describe the city's current infrastructure and business climate?
I’m glad that these two topics are linked together in the same question, as they each impact the other very directly. Both need to be considered alongside one another when we’re making city-wide policy decisions. Our current infrastructure has promise—notably with the airport, the I-93 expansion, and the recent vote by the BOMA to approve recommendations for rail transit—however, we’re still lacking in basic ways. Our current transit system forces residents to walk “beyond the last stop” sometimes up to two additional miles to get to work. Mobility is key when it comes to access and equity (at all levels) in the job market. We will see our business climate expand and improve when we can guarantee that we’ll be able to connect potential employees with open positions. Opening up access to a qualified workforce will undoubtedly drive business investment in Manchester and I see this as a key issue to address as we look ahead to improve our local economy.
What are the strengths and weaknesses of the Manchester School District? What is the top need for improvement or change?
MSD’s strengths are its committed teachers and staff, and its tenacious students. There’s no doubt, after spending the 2020 academic year in quarantine, that our students and teachers are resourceful, hard working, and resilient! Of course we know the downsides of the impacts of last year; but even before quarantine and online learning, we already struggled with students falling through the cracks due to a lack of a strong curriculum, compromised infrastructure, and most importantly—a budget that’s continuously under scrutiny. In a study published by Manchester Proud, over 62% of surveyed Manchester residents felt that a healthy school district has a direct correlation with an improved quality of life in Manchester.* Given that a plurality of residents recognize the value in investing in our schools, let’s make this a priority for our city. Let’s start with a future-facing, competency-based education model, and the adoption of recommendations to modernize our school buildings with a focus on enabling 21st-century learning. *Source: Manchester Proud City-wide Canvass Report, 2019.
Do you support the budgetary autonomy of the Manchester School District's governing body? (currently known as the Board of School Committee, but proposed to be renamed as the Manchester School Board). If so, why (or why not?)
Yes. The people we elect to serve on the Board of School Committee are immersed in the issues, challenges, and opportunities for MSD. They know most directly what decisions need to be made and how best to make them. Their recent recognition as the 2021 School Board of the Year is evidence that the board can work together in a bi-partisan way to drive progress for the district. Rather than hinder them, let’s empower them with increased autonomy and then demand accountability at the ballot box with our votes.
What is the greatest strength of your ward and what needs improvement? For at-large candidates, what is the greatest strength of the city as a whole and what is in need of improvement?
Ward 4 is a microcosm of Manchester more broadly. We are diverse on many levels—we have many races and income levels; we have a variety of homeowners and renters; and we’re geographically diverse, too—spanning from the edge of downtown up into the hills beyond I-93. We’re also home to three of Manchester’s public schools, along with a variety of businesses. Ward 4 has something for everyone! As part of my campaign effort, I’ve had the chance to talk with so many of my fellow neighbors. And yes, there are many issues on people’s minds. Public safety is the top concern—crime is not just a downtown problem. I also hear a lot about getting our public schools in order, and that improving our roads, sidewalks, and street lights are still critical for residents. The good news is that there’s a lot of consensus about what we need to improve. Harnessing the collective energy of this diverse community could yield major gains on the issues that are common among us. I often say, “if we can get it right in Ward 4, we’ll get it right in Manchester!”
Anything else you'd like to add?
Thank you for the opportunity to share my perspectives on so many great topics. And thank you for the work your team does in providing an invaluable service to Manchester!