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April 24. 2013 2:18AM

Two step up to run for Ward 7 state representative

MANCHESTER - Two candidates for the city's Ward 7 state representative seat have emerged, and both are familiar names.

Republican Ross Terrio had been a Ward 7 representative until he lost the seat in 2012, and Democrat Mary Heath is making her first run for public office. She is the former deputy state education commissioner, and she's also the sister of Kathy Sullivan, the former chair of the state Democratic party.

The special election will coincide with the municipal elections, with a primary, if one is necessary, on Sept. 17, and the general election on Nov. 5.

State Rep. Will Infantine, who is the chair of the Manchester Republican Committee, noted that it was unlikely that a special election could have been held before June 30, when most of the Legislature's work is complete for the session.

"It makes sense to conserve resources," he said.

The timing means that the special election will likely be greatly influenced by the turnout in the city elections, when residents will vote for mayor and 28 school board and aldermanic seats.

It's still possible for other candidates to enter the race. The candidate filing period runs from July 29 to August 8.

The seat, representing Hillsborough District 14 Ward 7, opened up earlier this month when Patrick Garrity resigned, saying he had moved out of the central city district.

In January, Garrity, a Democrat who held the seat for five terms, pleaded guilty to simple assault and was placed on probation for a year. He was accused of pushing his ex-wife and an acquaintance at a social club.

The race is the second spe Democrat Bill O'Neil was elected to the Ward 2 state representative seat, after the winner in the general election, Bill Thompson, moved to Florida.

The candidates for the Ward 7 seat staked out opposite positions on Gov. Maggie Hassan's budget.

"One thing that I think is extremely irresponsible is using $80 million from casino gambling," said Terrio, referring to Hassan's decision to factor in projected revenue from a new casino. "Talk about counting your chickens. There's a very good chance this won't pass the House. Talk about gambling." Terrio added that he supports expanded gambling as a policy.

Terrio, who is a pharmacist by profession, won the Ward 7 seat in 2010 and lost it in 2012. He's also run for the city school board.

Heath said she supports Hassan and her budget.

Heath said one of her main priorities is education. "I think supporting education in Manchester is critically important," she said. "I want to make sure teachers and students get as much support as they can."

Heath served as deputy education commissioner from 2005 until 2009. Prior to this, she worked as an administrator for the Manchester School District and was the assistant superintendent for S.A.U. 19.

Heath, who is now retired, said she had considered running for the school board, but then the chance to serve in the Legislature arose.

She said she wouldn't attempt to do both. "This all new to me," she said. "I think one at a time."



tsiefer@unionleader.com


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