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Craig: 'No activity from City Hall'

By PAUL FEELY
New Hampshire Union Leader

November 04. 2017 9:20PM
Mayoral candidate Joyce Craig talks at Arms Park in Manchester. Craig says she's been part of an effort to establish a Riverwalk on the banks of the Merrimack River since 2016. She also wants parking improvements at the nearby Millyard. (THOMAS ROY/UNION LEADER)
Election Day info
Polls open Tuesday, 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Polling locations:

WARD 1: Webster School auditorium, 2519 Elm St. (handicapped accessible entrance/parking in rear of building)

WARD 2: Hillside Middle School, 112 Reservoir Ave.

WARD 3: Carol M. Rines Center, 1528 Elm St. (Use rear entrance, not the Elm Street entrance)

WARD 4: McDonough School, 550 Lowell St.

WARD 5: Beech Street School, 333 Beech St.

WARD 6: Henry J. Mclaughlin Middle School, 290 S. Mammoth Road

WARD 7: St. Anthony Community Center, 148 Belmont St.

WARD 8: Memorial High School, One Crusader Way

WARD 9: Bishop Leo E. O'Neil Youth Center, 30 S. Elm St.

WARD 10: Parker-Varney School, 223 James Pollock Drive

WARD 11: Gossler School, 145 Parkside Ave.

WARD 12: Northwest Elementary School, 300 Youville St.



At Arms Park in Manchester, Joyce Craig walks and talks along the Riverwalk - a good idea she believes could be great "with a little help from City Hall."

The kind of help she is ready to provide if elected mayor by voters in the Queen City.

Craig, a former alderman and school board member from Ward 1, hopes to become the first woman elected mayor of the state's largest city on Tuesday. She ran against incumbent Mayor Ted Gatsas in 2015, losing by 64 votes.

Craig said she has been part of the effort to establish the Riverwalk since 2016. It is a key component of a report released last week by the civic group Manchester Connects, detailing potential cultural and economic development initiatives for the Queen City's downtown and Millyard areas.

"I think it's a great project and a great example of the community coming together," said Craig. "We began meeting about two years ago, and it was a nonpartisan group of people from the community, interested in making the community better. We've been working on ways to develop the Riverwalk and ways to connect to downtown, with little to no help from City Hall. We've made some great progress doing that, and I think it shows how much the community wants to be involved in developing places where people can meet, hold activities and enjoy what Manchester has to offer."

Craig said when campaigning door to door in wards across the city, the concerns she hears echo those expressed two years ago.

"The concerns are still the same," said Craig. "The businesses in the Millyard are frustrated over the lack of parking, there's been a desire to work with City Hall, looking at creative ways to get more parking in the Mill-yard and there's been little to no activity from City Hall. They're looking for a leader in Manchester to identify and work with them on solutions to address those concerns."

Craig said education in the city remains a concern of many.

"What I heard recently from Paul Leblanc (president of Southern New Hampshire University) is he's hiring a number of people every week to work in Manchester, and when he hires families, their concern is education in Manchester," said Craig. "And those families are choosing not to move to Manchester because of the education. Having a quality education in Manchester really impacts whether or not we can bring families into our city."

In her campaign literature, Craig often refers to "broken relationships" with former sending towns Hooksett, Auburn and Candia, stating the city has lost over $15 million in revenue since students from these towns left the school district. She believes it is possible to mend relationships with officials and residents in those towns.

"I think anything is possible," said Craig. "If you have a leader in Manchester with an open mind, anything is possible. If you have a mayor in Manchester that values public education and is willing to listen to parent concerns, because the concerns we heard from Hooksett parents were the same that we heard from Manchester parents. We need to listen to the concerns of the parents in every community and make sure that we are providing a quality education to every student in Manchester."

Craig said she thinks the city can do a better job of promoting entrepreneurship.

"We've got great examples of people starting their businesses here in Manchester," said Craig. "We have a number of colleges and universities, and so many kids when they graduate really look forward to starting their own businesses here. So if we can build policy that encourages startups to be here, we have great people that can serve as mentors; so if City Hall is really responsive to that, there's a great opportunity here."

Craig was raised in Manchester on Crystal Lake in Ward 8 and began her public service in 2007 when she won a seat on the school committee. In 2009, she won a seat as Ward 1 Alderman. Joyce and her husband, Michael Craig, an attorney, have three children, William, 20, Sarah, 18, and Kathryn, 13, who attends Manchester public schools.

The 50-year-old is "fourth-generation Manchester" as she puts it, having grown up on Corning Road in the Queen City's South End.

Craig, whose maiden name is Hopkins, attended Green Acres Elementary, Southside Middle, and Memorial High School.

She graduated from the University of New Hampshire with a degree in business administration. After graduating, she moved to Boston and worked for the advertising agency Hill Holiday and then for Cynthia Fisher's ViaCord in Boston. ViaCord is a cord blood stem banking company.

She is now a self-employed property manager. Joyce is also an avid runner who has completed 13 marathons and is training for her 10th consecutive Boston Marathon.

Craig said if she is elected there are several goals she hopes to accomplish over the next two years in office.

"I would love to see our public school system make some great strides in terms of literacy, so that more students are reading at grade level," said Craig. "I want to see more jobs in Manchester by more companies coming to our city, and just an overall feeling of vibrancy and people being proud and happy to be in Manchester, both in the community and the businesses."

Craig has released several plans containing ideas and initiatives. They are available online at joycecraig.org/plans.


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