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Sticker campaign seeks to lure Gatsas into governor race

New Hampshire Union Leader

February 11. 2012 11:36PM

IT HAS BEEN awhile since the 'Gatsas for governor' story made the rounds. Until recently, the political media had been working hard on the presidential primary, and the State House has been a newsmaking juggernaut since the session began. But on Thursday, the Gatsas story made a brief swing through my inbox via copies of a Tweeted photo of the bumper sticker on state Sen. John Gallus' Ford Expedition.

In an effort to get Mayor Ted Gatsas to jump into the race, Republican Gallus printed bumper stickers reading 'G4G12,' as in Gatsas for Governor in 2012. Anyone who's seen Gatsas' campaign signs for the past decade know the font, colors and giant yellow checkmark on the sticker are the mayor's brand.

When asked whether the campaign material was a harbinger of a big political announcement, Gatsas laughed.

'Sen. Gallus came down and said, 'I got some bumper stickers circulating, and I want you to run for governor,'' said Gatsas. 'I said, 'Thank you. I appreciate your support.''

A WMUR Granite State Poll released last week showed Gatsas gaining slight name recognition. Twenty-one percent surveyed had a positive view of the mayor, 17 percent had an unfavorable view, and 56 percent didn't know who he was.

Gatsas said he is not making an announcement about a run either way anytime soon.

'I'm working on a budget, and then I'm going on vacation,' he said.

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WARD 3 RESIDENTS may want to set aside a little time on Feb. 21 to head over to the Rines Center. There's a special House election that day.

Former Alderman and Democratic state Rep. Peter Sullivan is running against libertarian-minded Republican Muni Savyon for the Hillsborough District 10 seat left open by the departure of former state Democratic Party Executive Director Mike Brunelle.

Savyon ran for and lost the same seat in 2010 and at the time was endorsed by the Republican Liberty Caucus of New Hampshire and the New Hampshire Liberty Alliance. Attempts to reach Savyon last week were unsuccessful, but according to his website,, he works as an engineer consultant.

Sullivan served three terms in the N.H. House, where he sponsored legislation to protect victims of domestic violence and reduce mercury levels in the air and water. Sullivan has pledged to focus on education and has won the support of NEA-NH, which represents Manchester teachers. He has also received the support of the Granite State Teamsters.

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ATTEMPTS TO keep alive the smart-growth housing project on Wellington Hill fell short on Tuesday, despite Alderman Jim Roy's efforts. The Committee on Bills on Second Reading voted last month to kill the zoning changes developer Keith Martel of Sterling Realty needed to build his proposed 80- to 90-home development, but Roy brought the issue before the full board, hoping they'd give Martel's proposal another chance.

'I was rather shocked because of the way that the person was proposing this was treated,' said Roy. 'They were asked to get more information for us and show us how the house lots would be built out, and the comments on the board is that they just got the information that night and hadn't had time to digest it and voted to receive and file. I figured they'd a least look at it to see if it had some merit.'

Roy's argument had little sway with the board. It, too, voted to kill the proposal, with Aldermen Russ Ouellette, Tom Katsiantonis and Barbara Shaw voting to keep it alive. Aldermen Patrick Arnold and Joe Kelly Levasseur abstained.

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THE ALDERMEN HAVE decided to try their hand at the economic development game, forming on Tuesday a new five-member Special Committee on Job Creation, Job Retention and Economic Development.

The idea was offered by Alderman At-Large Dan O'Neil as a way for the city's Economic Development Office to present ideas and help aldermen craft long-term goals and policies to bring jobs to the city.

O'Neil said a friend recently told him local economic development seemed to consist of bringing in Walmart and a prison. O'Neil said Manchester can do better and needed more high-tech, high-paying jobs.

Aldermen Ouellette and Phil Greazzo voted against forming the committee. Greazzo said it is not up to government to create jobs but to reduce regulations that hinder new businesses.

'Maybe that would be a good role for the committee,' said Shaw.

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BETSI DeVRIES may not hold any official post after having stepped down from the Board of Aldermen last year, but she is keeping a hand in state politics. DeVries is serving as fiscal agent of fellow former state Sen. Jackie Cilley's gubernatorial political action committee, Friends of Jackie Cilley. Cilley recently announced her run for governor.

Ward 1 Alderman Joyce Craig has also thrown her support behind a Democrat for governor. Last week, the Hassan campaign named Craig to Hassan's Hillsborough County Steering Committee. Other Manchester members include school board Vice Chairman Dave Gelinas, committee co-Chairman and local businessman Will Kanteres, former state House Democratic Leader Jim Craig and former state Rep. Chris Pappas.

Read Beth Hall LaMontagne's coverage of Manchester City Hall in the New Hampshire Union Leader. Email her at

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