Running forWard 6 Alderman
Running as Non-Partisan Election
I am a parent, home owner in Ward 6, and a retired educator (43 years) with 40+years as an educator in the Manchester School District. My entire adult life has been dedicated to public education, students and their families as well as worker rights. Always advocating for those in need of support and services, I have always Shown Up, Stood Up, and Spoken Up on issues that can help move our community forward. As the Chairperson for the NH MLK Jr. Coalition, I work in a collaborative manner with many partners and organizations to promote a sense of community and provide education about civil and human rights and advocacy engagement. Since 2009, I have been a member of a national resource group working on the many needs and issues of children with disabilities; focused on disability rights and justice and facilitating educational opportunities for educators in state and across the country by creating timely and meaningful trainings. I am also a Holocaust Fellow through the Cohen Center at Keene State College. As a former member of the CelebratEd planning team (with Manchester Proud), I have continued to work on community engagement and partnerships to raise up and celebrate our public schools system and our city.
I have yet to hold public office.
Current jobI am currently retired. However, I continue to be active in many volunteer activities; The MLK Jr. Community Coalition and the NEA IDEA Resource Cadre.
Current residenceManchester, NH
Time lived in NHI have lived in Manchester for 41 years, in Ward 6 for 33 years.
For 40+ years, I was a proud public school educator, for the majority of those years as a School Counselor.
I hold a B.A. (Westfield State College/MA), a M.Ed. in School Counseling (Northeastern University/MA), a C.A.G.S. in School Psychology (Rivier University/NH), and am certified as a principal in the State of NH.
Through the Cohen Center at Keene State College, I am a continuing Fellow for Holocaust and Genocide Studies.
In 2013, I was awarded the Christa McAuliffe Leadership Award, NEA-NH
Why are you running for this office?
I am running because I see a void in constituent representation in my ward. Not all of our voices are heard, respected or even considered. Mixing red and blue to make purple ( my campaign color of choice) indicates my strong desire to include every voice in the conversations that we need to work together to continue to move our city forward. I served the city for over 40 years as an educator and a school counselor. That level of care and dedication did not stop at retirement, but is affording me this opportunity to continue to serve my community. I would be so proud to serve Ward 6 and the City of Manchester as an Alderman.
What qualifies you as the best candidate for this office?
I have decades of experience listening to others, building and participating in collaborate teams to promote programs and to solve problems. I also have a long history of responding in a timely manner to any constituent concerns; parents, students, my colleagues, administration and in my volunteer roles. Showing Up, Standing Up and Speaking Up are the benchmarks of who I am and how I conduct my every day life. Daily mindfulness for respect for others and being civil are essential traits that I strongly believe in not matter of differing opinions, values and thoughts. I have lived in Ward 6 for 33 years and understand what my neighbors are concerned about from the many conversations we have had; public safety, paved roadways and maintained sidewalks, quality public schools, a balanced budget, and the ability to stay in our homes for as long as we are able and choose to do so.
What are your thoughts on and plans for addressing homelessness?
Our partnership with the National Alliance to Prevent Homelessness will allow us to expand our thinking and resources with evidence-based solutions. The information they will share will assist our city services and programs to consider potential new opportunities. Our shelters are full and we are in need of developing rapid rehousing and housing first units as quickly as possible. Homelessness is a state-wide problem and we need to continue to work diligently with our state-level elected officials and other communities to address the on-going concerns. This is a non-partisan problem and we all need to make the commitment to work together to develop and fund short and long range solutions. Our one community cannot solve the problem of homelessness alone. The goal continues to be focus on building levels of individual resiliency so that individuals and families can not only have safe and affordable living situations, but that wrap-around services are in place which are affordable and accessible to address such life concerns as mental health, addiction and educational needs.
What are your thoughts on housing costs and plans for addressing those concerns?
There are different levels of affordable housing. We need affordable starter homes, condos, and apartments that are available and will attract young people to live and work in our city. When we look at the work force shortages that we are facing in our city government and public schools, housing is one of the barriers potential workers are facing. This shortage of affordable housing is also impacting all of our businesses in Manchester and their ability to hire the workforce that they need to sustain and thrive. We also need housing to cover the needs for rapid rehousing and housing first for individuals and families that are homeless and/or living in shelters or short-term sites. We need to move people off our streets and into appropriate and safe housing with the wrap-around services they need to sustain a positive and productive status. I support the continuation of allocating federal funds into the Affordable Housing Trust for the development of new and affordable housing units across our city. In addition, it is important that we continue to fully fund our Welfare Department so that they can continue to support our most vulnerable citizens.
What are your thoughts on and plans regarding crime and public safety?
The good news is that our crime rate, and our violent crime rates are down. I continue to be a strong supporter of our police department and applaud the ongoing work that is being done each-and-every day to provide safety to our community. We have the potential for the largest compliment of officers that we have ever seen but are continuing with workforce shortages and positions are unfilled. We have an immediate need to attract candidates for our police and fire positions to continue to grow our ability to respond to public safety concerns in a timely and professional manner. I will work with the police and fire departments to strengthen our strategies in these areas. We have the busiest dispatch group in the state and response to our citizens remains to be of priority. Without a full complement of police officers and firefights, we cannot fully address our needs in the manner that we desire. We all have a responsibility to our community and the “see it, report it” mentality is a critical component for the safety for everyone. This need can be achieved through community conversations and more education with our school-aged young people.
What are your thoughts on and/or plans for addressing concerns about property tax rates?
It really is about fiscal responsibility. We all need to have a balanced approach to budgeting. We need to listen to and consider what our citizens want and need, and do we have the money to pay for those services. We can only process responsibly through conversations and by continuing to assess the service we have in place now and their effectiveness to best serve the community. I believe in asking the hard questions of all of our department heads when is comes to working on the budget. What do they need, why do they need and how will assess the effectiveness of what we are doing now, and in the future.
What are your thoughts on the city's snow removal and trash pickup services?
I support the work that is being done to add trash cans, scheduling downtown street sweeping, daily trash pickups in the downtown area and increasing the use of automated trash pick up whenever possible to reduce injuries to our city workers. During snow emergencies, we need to attend to the need to clear our streets of vehicles and increase our towing and ticketing when needed. Modernizing our fee collection system to include credit cards and other collection mechanisms can only help us be more efficient. As in all other work force areas, there is a need to increase the our complement of workers responsible for these functions, especially in towing- which is a private contract. How can we do better is my question and I will work with the highway department and the police department to see if we can move to different responses for these needs.
What are your thoughts on the city's small business climate?
I am so excited about expansion of small businesses in Manchester all across the city. Our Economic Development Department is doing outstanding work in supporting this growth. Through this department, small business grants and program assistance are available. I will continue to support their work in my role of Alderman. I regularly frequent many small business in Ward 6 and throughout the city. We need to continue to streamline the process for folks interested in starting a small business in Manchester so that they can open more quickly and become a viable part of our economic landscape. I encourage all of our citizens to join me in to exploring our city and discover our small businesses to enjoy and support. I will work with the Board and Mayor to include stakeholders in the planning and implementation needed to gain more affordable housing and day care opportunities for the city. These services will increase our workforce and allow small businesses to thrive, not just survive.
What are your thoughts on and plans on improving the city's medium and large business climate?
The Economic Development Department is working diligently to attract medium and larger business to make Manchester their home. In this work, opportunities for jobs and careers are established. For a variety of reasons, some businesses move out and storefronts become available. We all need to continue our work to promote Manchester as the place to open a company or business. I will be a strong voice to continue to secure federal grants to assist businesses to find their homes in Manchester and will work directly with current business owners and companies to achieve this goal. We have a lot to offer in Manchester to attract businesses to “move in” and stay.
What are your thoughts on and plans on improving parks and recreation in the city?
Parks are our shared community spaces and need to be maintained and monitored for the public’s safety. In Ward 6, we have Youngsville Park which is in need of a community conversation. It is important to me that those living in the area of this park have input into the use of this area. It used to be widely used for ball games and hosted for an annual Girl Scout community event. There is talk of adding a dog park there but there has been no community input so far. Local residents need to have a voice in what happens in their backyards. As an alderman, I will conduct a community conversation about Youngsville Park to gather input as to its use going forward. Our recreational opportunities in Manchester are vast. We have on-going community activities, concerts, films, festivals and gatherings. We attract many Manchester residents and non-Manchester visitors for cultural and art events, sporting activities, dining and night life, family spaces and events and so much more.
What are your thoughts on how public transportation and infrastructure in the city can be improved?
Our public transportation services have expanded with the addition of bus service to Park & Ride sites and increasing frequency to the west side. The addition of rail would allow our citizens a wider opportunity to travel and to bring in more people to enjoy the businesses and cultural opportunities that our city offers. We need to continue to carefully look at our public transportation system for more expansions to meet the needs of our citizens .I would advocate for an increase of the frequency of our bus routes to ensure that we are truly meeting the needs of all of our residents.
What are your thoughts on the current state of the city's civic pride and ideas on how to improve it?
I have tremendous pride in being a Manchester resident as well as a retired public school educator. I love this city and am so happy to be living in Ward 6. Improving pride in our city is a collective responsibility and while we need to be transparent about some challenges, being a champion about the positives in our city can only build community and individual pride. I will continue to share with others why coming to Manchester is a destination city in New Hampshire: theatre, restaurants, sporting activities, festivals, and so much more. There is a lot to be excited about, even when we have struggles to work on together.
What are your thoughts on any neighborhood specific issues in your ward as well as any plans on addressing those issues?
As I talked with my neighbors, public safety, quality public schools, the condition of our roads, and taxes were the overwhelming areas of concern. Residents want to be heard and appreciate someone taking the time to listen, research and get back to them with information. Communication is key. Responding to phone calls and emails and being available with information to solve problems is what the residents of Ward 6 want.
What is your view on the main role of an Alderman?
The primary job of an Alderman is to get things done to expand the opportunities for our citizens in a balanced manner. The role encompasses many responsibilities but the major areas to being an effective Alderman are; being proactive, responding to constituents” needs and concerns, getting things done, implementing sound policies, and making recommendations to solve problems and concerns. As Alderman, I will show up to meetings, do the work to be prepared to participate in all discussions, stand up for the wishes of my constituents, and speak up to impact policies and practices to continue to move towards thriving community for all.