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Goodbye, Kathy: A behind-the-scenes juggernaut

September 23. 2017 5:35PM

Last week, we said goodbye to a trailblazer of New Hampshire politics, whose contributions to our state were not known to most of the public.

Kathy Schneiderat passed away in June at the age of 76. St. Catherine of Siena Church in Manchester held a memorial Mass for Schneiderat on Wednesday. Many of her colleagues joined her husband, Gunter, and her family to share stories of Schneiderat's remarkable career that spanned local, state and federal government.

Schneiderat entered politics in 1985, when she joined two others as the first women ever elected to Manchester's Board of Aldermen. She served with three mayors; Bob Shaw, Emile Beaulieu, and Ray Wieczorek.

Wieczorek recounted how Schneiderat was so well liked by the entire board that he soon learned to use her as an intermediary to strike deals with quarreling aldermen.

Schneiderat also served as a state representative, but she surely made her biggest impact behind the scenes, serving on the staffs of Gov. John Sununu, Congressman Bill Zeliff, and John E. Sununu, both in the U.S. House and Senate.

Schneiderat specialized in constituent services, helping thousands of Granite Staters navigate the maze of government bureaucracy. There is no way to know how many veterans she helped receive their due benefits, or how many immigrants she assisted in complying with immigration law on the path to American citizenship.

Both Wieczorek and Sen. Sununu noted that Schneiderat's empathy, in addition to her vast knowledge and experience, made her such an effective voice for their constituents.

Kathy Schneiderat was a role model for government at its best. She will be missed.

NH People State Government Editorial

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