Running as Non-Partisan Election
2015 - Present: Alderman Ward 1, Manchester; 2017 - 2022: New Hampshire State Senator, District 16
Current jobRetired; Former IBEW telecommunications worker and IBEW Assistant Business Manager and Benefits Coordinator
• 35 years as a union employee in the telecommunications industry, serving as a Contract Negotiator and Benefits Coordinator, and Assistant Business Manager;
• Former high school football coach;
Current residenceManchester – Ward 1
Time lived in NHUnion Tradesman
Manchester Memorial High School Class of 1984; IBEW worked for over 30 years
Best way to contact candidateEmail: email@example.com
Why are you running for this office?
I love this city. I was born and raised in Ward 6 in Manchester, raised my family here, and have served our community as a coach, Alderman, and in the State Senate. I believe in the progress we are making and have a vision for where we can go. I want Manchester to be a place where my kids, and all our kids, can find a great job and raise their families here. There is so much good we can do for Manchester by working together to lift our city up and solve our challenges. Whether you’ve lived here your whole life or recently moved here, regardless of who you love, what you look like, or what you do for work, this city is for all of us. That’s how I’ll lead as Mayor and why I’m working to earn your vote in this election.
What qualifies you as the best candidate for this office?
We have great candidates running for office all across this city and it’s so exciting to see great people step up to run for office. I believe I’m the best candidate to continue to lead our city forward because of my broad experience. I grew up in Manchester, raised my family here, and have been involved in the community here. I bring a unique perspective to this race as a blue-collar union worker who entered the trades out of high school. I know the challenges our working families face because I face them too. I’ve also served our community on the Board of Alderman since 2015 and in the State Senate from 2017 – 2022. These relationships will allow me to hit the ground running, advocate for our great city, and get results. I’m so honored to have the endorsements of Senator Maggie Hassan, Mayor Joyce Craig, our Police and Fire Associations, and so many more because we’ve worked together to get results and I’m the one they trust to keep it going.
What candidates running for office in Manchester for races other than your own do you support?
There are great candidates running all across the city. I am grateful for everyone that has stepped-up to run for public service.
What are your thoughts on and plans on addressing homelessness?
Homelessness and housing are the most important issues facing the next Mayor. Addressing homelessness starts with more housing. We need more supportive housing, transitional housing, workforce housing, and market-rate housing. There are families in our shelters right now who are working full-time and ready to move to a place they can call their own, but there’s nothing they can afford. We need to do better. The Board of Mayor and Alderman has taken important steps forward in recent years by hiring a Director of Homeless Initiatives to better connect all the stakeholders involved in this difficult challenge. We also must address our mental health and substance misuse challenges — they often go hand in hand with homelessness. As Mayor, I would explore opportunities for public-private partnerships that can help individuals experiencing homelessness get back on their feet as part of a comprehensive solution that leads to sustained success including job training programs and financial literacy. If we expand housing options, bring nonprofits together to better connect services with our homeless population, and increase investments in mental health and substance misuse services we can drastically reduce homelessness.
What are your thoughts on housing costs and plans on addressing those concerns?
Housing costs are a major challenge in Manchester and across our entire state. When we have rental vacancy rates close to .5%, people cannot find a place to live at any price point, which impacts low-wage and entry-level workers the most. The housing crisis starts as a housing supply problem. We do not have enough housing to meet the demand. Recently, we have taken some important steps forward approving approximately 2,000 housing units with 450 of those below market-rate, but that’s just a start. We need to cut red tape so that good projects can be approved without unnecessary delays, evaluate under-utilized city-owned property that could be converted into more housing or mixed-use projects, and continue with the update of our zoning code so that we allow for more density downtown, smaller multi-family like duplexes and triplexes outside our city center, and smaller single-family options for seniors looking to downsize and young families looking to put down roots. If we take these steps, we can continue to attract the workforce our businesses need, build an even more vibrant downtown, and reduce costs for Manchester residents.
What are your thoughts on and plans regarding crime and public safety?
Everyone should feel safe in Manchester, in every neighborhood and on every street. I’m proud to have the endorsement of the Manchester Police Association and Fire Fighters Association in this campaign for Mayor. These are the men and women on the frontlines of so many challenges and I’m so honored to have their trust. In recent years, we’ve invested in new technology such as the shot spotter to help our police department respond quickly to any incidents. We need to continue to use data-driven technologies as part of our public safety programs. Our first responders have done an incredible job and violent crime is down in the city, but even one victim is too many. One major challenge for our police and fire departments is hiring. The city budget increased funding for more officers, but there are still unfilled positions because of the same workforce challenges our private companies face. We need more housing in the city, so that our municipal employees — police, fire, teachers, DPW workers — can afford to live and work in the city.
What are your thoughts on and/or plans on addressing concerns about property tax rates?
High property taxes are a major concern for residents and businesses all across the city – and it’s especially challenging for seniors on fixed incomes. Your city government needs to be responsible stewards of your hard-earned tax dollars ensuring that city services are top-notch and efficient. As a State Senator, I supported a state budget that sent millions of dollars back to our communities through unrestricted grants, supported the largest education funding in state history (which lowers the municipal education funding burden by using state revenues rather than relying on local property taxes), and supported reinstating the state’s obligation to pay a portion of municipal pension costs (which are currently downshifted to property taxpayers). As Mayor, I’ll continue to leverage my relationships and knowledge of state policy to look out for local property taxpayers while ensuring that city services exceed expectations.
What are your thoughts on the city's snow removal and trash pickup services
Our municipal employees do an excellent job keeping this city running and I’m honored to have the endorsement of Teamsters Local 633, which represents many of our municipal employees. Snow removal and trash pick-up are essential services for high quality of life in the city. On the Board of Mayor and Alderman, I supported upgrading our trash pick-up fleet to include automated trash pick-up trucks which led to fewer on-the-job injuries saving the city workers compensation costs and increasing efficiency. We made sure this was a just transition to automation and any affected municipal employees were able to transition to other jobs within the city.
What are your thoughts on the city's small business climate?
Our Economic Development Department does a fantastic job connecting small business owners to resources and navigating any administrative hurdles. I was happy to support making the Department’s funding part of our ongoing operating budget. Manchester should be the best place in the state to start a small business and raise your family. However, we must do more to increase our workforce – when I talk to business owners they frequently talk about the shortage of workers. This starts with building more housing that workers can afford. I’m a strong supporter of mixed-use development, which often pairs small retail or local restaurants on the ground floor and housing above. Mixed use helps keep our city vibrant throughout the morning, afternoon, and evening by increasing foot traffic.
What are your thoughts on and plans on improving the city's medium and large business climate?
Similar to the answer on small businesses, the enhancement of our Economic Development Department was an important step forward to help existing business and new businesses navigate local government. We also must build more housing so our businesses have the workforce they need. This is especially important as our thriving life science sector, led by ARMI, continues to grow and generate industry connected businesses. As Mayor, I will continue to partner with our public schools and higher education institutions to develop innovative career pathway partnerships so our students are ready for the jobs of today and tomorrow.
What are your thoughts on and plans on improving parks and recreation in the city?
When I talk to residents, and especially the younger folks we need to retain, they want access to outdoor spaces. This includes trails, playgrounds, public pools, athletic fields, and other open spaces. This must be done equitably so regardless of what neighborhood you live in, you have access to these essential quality-of-life elements. As temperatures continue to rise, we need shade and tree cover throughout the city. I believe we should also look at our riverfront as an incredible opportunity for an outdoor space that combines recreation and commercial uses putting people – not cars – first.
What are your thoughts on as well as any plans on improving transportation and infrastructure in the city?
Quality public transportation is important for our economy, for equity, and to help combat climate change by relying less on cars for transportation. Manchester should take an all of the above approach to transportation, supporting bus service, commuter rail, bike lanes, and sidewalks for walkers and joggers. Like so many other issues, this cannot be something that we address in one neighborhood, but leave others behind. For many in our city center neighborhoods, walking or biking is the primary mode of transportation and they deserve to have well-paved protected bike lanes and smooth sidewalks. For bus service, we should look at opportunities to increase frequency and service routes, including advocating at the state level to increase our lowest in New England public transit spending. There are also exciting ongoing discussions about creating a transportation center in Manchester that could support a return of Manchester to Boston/Logan bus service. Finally, Manchester is the largest metro area in the country without any commuter rail – that needs to change. Our businesses support rail because they know it will increase our workforce and make our great city more accessible.
What are your thoughts on the current state of the city's civic pride and ideas on how to improve it?
I love this city and, as I’ve talked with residents throughout this campaign, it’s clear so many others do too. We have a lot of pride about living in Manchester. We’re honest about our challenges, but ready to work together to solve them. We can always do more to connect people and build a deeper sense of community. Whether it’s the Taco Tour, air shows, Glendi, the Manchester marathon, or any other of the great city events, we should continue to work with partners to bring people together. These events are good for the city, good for our businesses, and build a strong sense of community. I think we should take a long look at other people-first proposals like pedestrian only roads or utilizing the riverfront area to make it a community destination.
What are your thoughts on School District's relationship to city government?
I supported sending the decision of whether the school district should be an independent entity to the ballot for a vote since I believe citizens should have a say on structural changes. There are challenges within the current system that separates many budget and policy decisions between the School Board and Board of Alderman when those decisions are inherently linked.
What are your thoughts on School District's relationship to city government?
Strong relationships are critical to the job of Mayor. I served almost six years in the State Senate working with the Governor and legislators from both parties on common-sense solutions. I’ll bring my strong relationships and personal experiences to the Mayor’s office to advocate for our city’s needs at the state level. I’ll also always work with anyone to get results including Mayor’s from other cities in New Hampshire and across the country. No one has a monopoly on good ideas.
What are your thoughts on the mayor's role in city government?
The Mayor sets the tone for the city through their leadership of city departments, service on the Board of Alderman and School Board, and as the lead spokesperson and champion for the city, but no one does this job alone. As Mayor, you are part of an incredible team of elected officials, appointed volunteers, and municipal staff that make up city government. As Mayor, my door will always be open. I’ll talk to everyone and work with anyone who is interested in helping Manchester move forward. This city is for all of us.
What are your thoughts and plans for the number of public schools needed in Manchester (with breakdown of elementary/middle/high schools in that number?)
The discussion on school restructuring must be a community wide conversation. I have personal connections to many of our schools: I graduated from Memorial High School, coached football at West High School, and my kids graduated from Central High School. This cannot be a decision the Mayor makes by themselves. I look forward to continuing to look at the reports, review enrollment projections, explore taxpayer implications, and engage in a wide-reaching community discussion about our school system. However, doing nothing is not an option. The average age of our schools is over 75 years old – with some over 100 years old – that’s not acceptable for a 21st-century education. We have already approved the “3 – 4 – 12” model, which will include three high schools, four middle schools, and twelve elementary schools. I think that’s the right breakdown and we need to start moving forward with community conversation and funding discussions.
What are your thoughts on and plans on Improving grade-level proficiency scores
I’m a proud graduate of Manchester public schools and Kerri and I sent our three kids to Manchester public schools where they received a great education. There are so many factors that go into a quality education and outcomes. This city has great teachers who we must trust, retain, and provide them with the resources to be successful in the classroom. We also must improve upon many of the other challenges we face as a city, whether its housing, food insecurity, mental health, or substance misuse, education does not happen in a vacuum. It’s very hard for a student to learn if the only meal they eat is the school lunch or for a student to complete their homework if they live in an overcrowded apartment because housing is too expensive. If we are able to improve upon those other challenges, then we’ll also see proficiency scores increase.
How would you address student equity?
Student equity needs to be at the center of conversations about school facilities, extra-curricular activities, and all our educational decisions. The neighborhood you grow up in should not determine anything about the quality of your education. We have amazing teachers across all of our schools who are dedicated to looking out for our students and providing a world-class education. As Mayor, community engagement will be a top priority in all of our neighborhoods. We want to hear your challenges and help address them.
What are your thoughts on extra-curricular offerings in Manchester public schools?
All students should have the opportunity for extra-curricular offerings within the public school system, whether it’s athletics, the arts, sciences, or other programs, students can learn so much outside of the classroom. Extracurriculars can teach leadership, conflict resolution, and build lifelong friendships. Extracurriculars can also spark interest in future careers and keep kids out of trouble. As we used to say playing hockey, a kid on cold ice isn’t in hot water.
What are your thoughts on per-pupil expenditures/costs per student?
As a State Senator, I fought to increase the per-pupil adequacy grants the state provides because I know they are not enough and that balance is made up through high property taxes. A quality education is one of the best investments we can make in the next generation whether our students move on to the trades, college, or national service, education is the foundation. We will not solve every problem by just throwing more money at it. We need to be responsible and efficient with our city budget while ensuring that our students and teachers have what they need. As Mayor, I’ll work closely with our superintendent, parents, and teachers to give our students the best opportunities possible.
What are your thoughts on or plans on addressing attracting and retaining Manchester School District staff?
Attracting and retaining staff is a challenge throughout the public sector, whether its teachers, police officers, or municipal employees, we’re experiencing high vacancy rates and turnover. I’ve led on public sector contract negotiations and am currently overseeing a municipal compensation study to help fairly compensate staff at the city level. We need to explore innovative public-private partnerships to help retain staff. For example, the city could partner with childcare providers to fund free or subsidized childcare costs as an employee benefit which would help retain staff and attract staff who may have exited the workforce because the economics of paying for child care did not make sense to remain in the workforce.
What are your thoughts on the Manchester School District's relationship with private schools, charter schools and other school districts that have tuition agreements with Manchester?
Our public schools are the foundation of our communities and we need to support them. As a State Senator, I opposed the school voucher program that sent tax dollars to private, religious, and homeschools because it pulled limited resources away from our public schools. Many private and charter schools do not have the same oversight as public schools and can deny admittance for people with disabilities. If a family wants to send their kids to a private or charter school, that’s their choice and schools are welcome to provide scholarships, but public tax dollars should stay in public schools.
What are your thoughts on and plans on addressing school safety?
When we send our kids to school they need to be safe. As a parent, when I hear on the news about another school shooting it breaks my heart and I immediately think of my three kids. In the State Senate, I supported common-sense gun safety measures like universal background checks, red flag laws, and gun free schools. I also supported grants to schools to upgrade security systems. As Mayor, I’ll continue to work with our police department and school administrators to ensure that, god-forbid, something happens in Manchester, we are prepared and ready to act immediately.
What are your thoughts on and/or plans on addressing remote learning/other uses of technology in education?
Technological advancements are here to stay and should be included in a comprehensive educational experience. However, we clearly saw the challenges of all remote learning during COVID, which was far less effective than the traditional in-person classroom experience. The use of technology in modern education reinforces why it’s so important for us to upgrade our public schools. 21st century students should not be learning in classrooms that were built in the 1920s.
What are your thoughts on or plans on addressing vocational and career-focused educational initiative?
This topic is personal for me. I entered the workforce at age 19 right out of Memorial High School. Through job training and hands-on learning, I developed practical skills that led to a career as a telecommunications lineman and proud IBEW member. This was a great job that allowed me to buy a house, support our family, and grow up in the city I love. We are facing enormous shortages of all types of jobs in the trades. This creates major economic challenges for businesses looking to expand and homeowners looking to make repairs. For far too long, society has framed four-year college as the only option for high school graduates, that’s not true and we need to continue to expand partnerships within our public schools that expose our students to the trades.
What are your thoughts on as well as plans on addressing issues related to Special Education/IEPs
Everyone deserves access to a high quality public education regardless of any special education needs. This is especially important as a generation of students who were born during the opioid epidemic enter our public schools with learning challenges. We need to support our teachers and work with students and their families to put everyone in a position to be successful.