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Three candidates seek two Merrimack town council seats

Union Leader Correspondent

April 06. 2014 9:15PM

MERRIMACK — Three candidates are vying for two seats on the Merrimack Town Council in Tuesday's election.

Two incumbents, including Finlay Rothhaus and Bill Boyd, along with a current state representative, Lenette Peterson, are hoping to secure a position on the board.

Peterson, of 1 Elizabeth Dr., is a substitute teacher and sales associate for Reebok. She has served as a state representative for two terms, however this is her first run for a local town council seat.

"Over the past two terms, I have enjoyed working with and for the residents of Merrimack," said Peterson, announcing she will not run for re-election to the House in November. "I still want to serve the people of Merrimack, and if elected to the town council, I would be able to work full time and still fulfill my duties on the town council."

Peterson says she can bring fresh ideas to the board, adding she has a proven track record of sticking to her beliefs and not compromising her integrity.

"I do not believe in settling, as Merrimack deserves a town council member who has their best interests at heart," she said.

If elected, her three goals are to promote Merrimack as the perfect place to relocate businesses, to try and reduce or stabilize property taxes and to have personal property assessed uniformly throughout town.

"As the only non-incumbent running for town council, I am the underdog. But, I believe I am the best candidate for the job," said Peterson. "I would be going in with no expectations, everything will be a new experience, everything will be looked at and analyzed by a fresh set of eyes and with new ideas."

Peterson has been married for 24 years to her husband, Erik. They have two grown daughters.

Rothhaus, of 14 Kittredge Lane, is self-employed and previously served as a state representative in the 1990s. He has held numerous past positions in Merrimack, including selectman, planning board member, municipal budget committee member, school district planning and building committee member and more.

He has sat on the town council since 2006.

"I would like to continue the focus the council has had on economic development and providing for a sound infrastructure while at the same time maintaining a stable town property tax rate," said Rothhaus.

Rothhaus says he has worked hard to build a trusting relationship with business leaders, the town manager and other community members, adding he is committed to building a positive culture where citizens will have a voice.

According to Rothhaus, there are two major issues facing the town — the cost of the state retirement system and healthcare.

"A resolution to these problems, for the most part, lies with the state," he said. "In the meantime, we must continue finding creative ways to lessen our employees financial impact on these costs."

If re-elected, Rothhaus says he will encourage greater participation in single stream recycling so that the town can reap the financial benefits of the program.

As far as the town's existing spending plan, Rothhaus believes the town council has handled the budget well by maintaining a stable property tax rate and simultaneously placing greater emphasis on town infrastructure needs.

He has lived in Merrimack for 43 years with his wife, Laurie. They have three grown children.

Boyd, of 139 Joppa Road, is a provider relations representative for Cenpatico.

He has served on the town council since 2011, and previously sat on other town boards, including the Economic Development Citizens Advisory Committee, planning board and school budget committee.

"I want to further serve on the town council to continually ensure that our town positions itself strategically for future growth, remains fiscally sound to accommodate that growth and continues its economic diversity while maintaining our business friendliness to preserve and protect our quality of life," said Boyd.

Boyd says his past three years of experience on the town council, along with his prior years of civic involvement, make him an ideal candidate and have prepared him for the future challenges the town will face in the next few years.

"Economic development continues to be the most important issue, and is vital to Merrimack's growth, locally and regionally," he said. "Economic development isn't just a concept, it's a mindset. And, we've established that mindset with our community and staff. And, that mindset tells companies that Merrimack is business-friendly. Now, we need to further build upon this success."

If re-elected, Boyd says he would like to help maintain and preserve Merrimack's quality of life through the budget, policy initiatives, community policing and economic development, while also developing new streams of revenue to offset the tax rate and save money for roads, bridges and other infrastructure projects.

He has been married to his wife, Michele, for nine years.

Election day is Tuesday. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at James Mastricola Upper Elementary School.

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