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Manchester elections: Aldermen, school board candidates for Wards 1, 2 and 3

By PAUL FEELY
New Hampshire Union Leader

September 13. 2017 11:56PM
Mancheser voting locations
Polls will be open Tuesday, Sept. 19, from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. For a look at ward boundaries, click here to visit the City of Manchester website.

• WARD 1: Webster School auditorium, 2519 Elm St.
• WARD 2: Hillside Middle School, 112 Reservoir Ave.
• WARD 3: Carol M. Rines Center, 1528 Elm St. (Use rear entrance - not 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.

Manchester candidate profiles

Friday:
Wards 4, 5, 6
Saturday: Mayor's race
Sunday: Wards 7, 8, 9
Monday : Wards 10, 11, 12
Tuesday : Sample ballot



MANCHESTER — City voters will head to the polls next week to cast ballots in the 2017 municipal primary election. Primaries for school board and alderman exist in several wards across Manchester, along with the citywide mayoral race.

Polls will be open Tuesday, Sept. 19, from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Primary races exist for alderman seats in wards 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11 and 12. Races exist for seats on the Board of School Committee in just two wards — 6 and 12. Four candidates are running for mayor.

The New Hampshire Union Leader and New Hampshire Sunday News sent three questions to alderman, mayoral and school board candidates to provide a short profile on them. Candidates were asked to limit responses to 50 words or less.

Today’s Union Leader presents the first in a multi-day series showcasing those responses. Answers received will be presented ward by ward and wrap up with responses from at-large candidates. Responses from mayoral candidates are scheduled to run this Saturday.

Some candidates chose not to take part. Others sent along responses despite the fact they are not in a contested primary — including those running unopposed.

These are the questions :

1. Do you support making Manchester a sanctuary city? Why or why not?

2. Do you support a tax cap override to fund salary increases for city and school district employees?

3. What is the top issue facing the city/schools, and how would you address it?

Today’s responses are from candidates for alderman and school board in Wards 1, 2 and 3.

ALDERMAN

Ward 1

Christopher Stewart, 40

Small business owner

1. I do not support making Manchester a sanctuary city. I believe that illegal immigrants who commit a crime in Manchester should be arrested and turned over to federal authorities.

2. I do not support a tax cap override to fund salary increases for city and school district employees under the current system. We have some outstanding, hardworking public servants in this city but Yarger-Decker, the salary formula for city pay developed almost two decades ago that provides automatic pay increases just for showing up to work, not based on merit, is unsustainable. It has crippled the budget and finances of our city. As alderman, I will work with all sides, including with the unions, to bring a long-term solution to this issue once and for all.

3. The two most pressing issues are improving Manchester public schools and addressing our opioid crisis. I have a proven track record of working collaboratively on policies that make smart, financially responsible investments in our future. As alderman I will always put the needs of my constituents above politics, and I will work hard every day to be a voice for positive change.

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Jeff Nyhan, 37

Director of Security, Manchester Community College

1. I do not support making Manchester a sanctuary city. Becoming a sanctuary city would put an increased burden on our city services and school system. Immigration laws need to be enforced even at the local level.

2. I do not support a tax cap override. I support the city and school employees. I know that city and school employees need to be paid accordingly to continue to provide quality services to our community. I think that we need to look at how we spend our money and identify places we can reallocate funds without layoffs, while providing city employees with proper compensation and not overriding the tax cap.

3. Opioid Addiction. Manchester police and fire have done a great job combating the current drug crisis. There is still more work to be done through enforcement, education, and treatment to help lessen the epidemic. Continued partnerships with local treatment and recovery centers along with enforcement to arrest the people bringing the drugs into our community, and educating our youth about what is going on and the consequences of drug use.

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Kevin Cavanaugh, 52 (Incumbent)

Assistant Business Manager, IBEW 2320

1. Making our city safer is a top priority. I believe that any person, documented or undocumented, should feel comfortable calling the police or fire department to ask for help, report a crime, provide information to solve a crime, and contribute to the general safety of our community.

2. I will respect the tax cap while also ensuring that our public service employees are fairly compensated so they can provide our kids and our city the best possible outcomes. Public education has always been my top priority and I will do everything I can do to help strengthen it.

3. In addition to the opioid crisis, I feel that education is the top issue facing our community. As I always have, I will fight to ensure that our schools and our teachers have the resources necessary to provide a quality education to our students.

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Ward 2

Paul R. R. Martineau, 77

Elected City Welfare Commissioner since 2002 to Present

1. Manchester should not be a sanctuary city. Our nation has immigration laws and the laws should be adhered to by all immigrants wanting to enter our country. Some sanctuary cities have become havens for illegal immigrants, some having criminal backgrounds and who are financially unable to support themselves thereby creating an additional burden to the taxpayers.

2. I would not override the tax cap to fund salary increases for city and school district employees. The tax cap was approved by Manchester voters on 11/8/11. As a former elected member of the 1st City Charter Review Commission back in 1981, I am a strong supporter of the City Charter.

3. The top issue in Manchester is the opioid crisis. I pledge to support our first responders and the Safe Station Program, along with promoting drug awareness education within the schools. I would vote to fund those agencies who deal directly with drug addiction treatment. Additionally, the Yarger-Decker pay system needs to be repealed and a pay freeze initiated until a reasonable solution is formulated. Schools are overcrowded and class sizes need to be reduced. I would advocate adding teachers along with redistricting that will maximize unused school areas presently existing as a potential solution.

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Will Stewart

1. Manchester’s rich cultural diversity is a large part of what makes this city great, and has been since the beginning. That said, our laws and legal processes should be followed and applied to everyone equally. On a related note, I will add that having knocked on more than 1,000 doors so far, I’ve had only one voter ask me about the sanctuary city issue.

2. The city budget is the most significant vote an alderman takes each year. I’m not an ideologue; I support data-driven decisions. If elected, I’ll support proposals that achieve results for taxpayers. I won’t support budgets that increase taxes with no improvement in city services. Coming from an economic development background, I will vote to spend money only if a measure meets one of two criteria: by spending money either the city must see return on its investment or it must save money in the long run.

3. To me, the top issue facing Manchester is a lack of vision, and the challenges facing the city — be they schools, crime, or the opioid epidemic — are the symptoms of this lack of vision. If we want Manchester to be a city that people move to, and not from, then we need to elect leaders who will set forth a vision for the city so that we can proactively address our challenges instead of just reacting to them.

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Ryan Richman, 37

Teacher at Timberlane Regional High School

1. Safety in our city is a top priority for my campaign. Every person that lives in our city should be able to call the police or fire department to ask for help, report a crime, provide information to solve a crime, and contribute to the general safety of our community.

2. The tax cap is not going anywhere anytime soon. So we must work smarter to ensure that our public service employees are fairly treated by their city so they can provide our city with the best possible services. Public education and fighting the opioid crisis in a real, comprehensive way are my top priorities and I will do everything I can do to work with our service providers to address them.

3. In addition to the opioid crisis and quality of life issues, our under-resourced school system is the top issue facing our community. As a teacher, I am the only candidate in this race who fully understands the education system from all angles and can provide the necessary experience and vision our schools and community need.

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Thomas Svoleantopoulos, 44

Owner, East Coast Service Industry Companies

1. No, I do not support making Manchester a sanctuary city. As alderman, I will serve the constituents of Ward 2 by focusing on local issues and constituent services. This includes improving public safety, ensuring the city provides efficient, cost-effective services and fight against any property tax increase. Making Manchester a sanctuary city is not consistent with these goals and will not solve any of the current problems facing our city.

2. No, I do not support a tax cap override. I support the tax cap and believe city government must function efficiently and effectively which includes providing quality services within a balanced budget. I oppose any property tax increase and instead will use my experience as the only small business owner running for Ward 2 Alderman to push economic development to create new jobs to expand the tax base and bring in additional revenue to Manchester.

3. The most important issue facing Manchester is economic development and taxes. I will work to make sure Manchester continues to be a great place to live, work and raise a family. This means keeping the tax base low for all residents, providing high quality schools, and improving public safety by making sure our police and fire departments are fully equipped to deal with the drug crisis, reduce crime and keep our neighborhoods safe.

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Robert "Bob" Gerard O’Sullivan, 52.

Sales executive with Spectrum Marketing Companies, Inc. Former owner of P.J. O’Sullivan’s restaurant.

1. No. We are a kind and generous people, but we have our own needs. I believe in supporting law enforcement and following the legal procedures in place.

2. Police, fire, city and school district employees play a vital role in serving our city and children and should be respectfully compensated, but I’ll uphold the will of the voters. I believe we can both abide by the tax cap and offer fair wages.

3. Business is bullish on Manchester and we’ve become a hotbed of high tech. I want to harness that energy and grow our city. Providing jobs for our youth, keeping taxes low, and overcoming the drug crisis and the crime it’s brought. We need aldermen with selfless vision.



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Ward 3

Patrick Long (Incumbent)

Chose not to reply due to uncontested primary

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Tim Baines, 38

Owner/Operator of Mint Bistro restaurant in Manchester

1. At this time I do not think we should pursue becoming a sanctuary city. I respect the debate on the issue, however other communities that have taken this step have realized further strains on the city budget, and public safety concerns.

2. City and school district employees should be compensated fairly, and we need to be competitive with our surrounding cities and towns. It will be critical for our new leaders to take a fresh approach to the budget process, so that we are not left facing this same dilemma each year.

3. The opioid epidemic that has crippled our city and lack of vision at City Hall. We need new vision and an open debate on improving our schools, keeping our students engaged, and tackling our current drug epidemic. Tackling these issues will help make Manchester a destination city once again.

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School Board

Ward 1

Sarah Ambrogi, 55 (Incumbent)

Estate planning and elder law attorney with Ambrogi Law Office

1. From my perspective as a school board member, I think it is most important that Manchester schools welcome our immigrant and refugee children, and that the Manchester School District embrace its diversity. The question of “sanctuary cities” is an issue that is beyond the scope of our work on the school board.

2. I believe that the school board is obligated to send the aldermen a budget that supports the needs of our district. If our goal is to move the district forward and offer our students the best possible education, we will only achieve this if we are able to hire and retain the best possible employees at all levels within the district. We will only retain our high quality employees if we pay them fairly. So yes, I support an override of the tax cap in a year where it is necessary to meet the needs of the district and fairly compensate our employees.

3. The top issue facing our schools is that despite the fact there are wonderful things happening in our schools every day, the reality is that the achievement of our students as a whole falls far short of where we would like to be as a district. Our overall results in math and reading are well below state averages, and our graduation rate is lower than it should be. If we are serious about wanting our school district to be among the best in New Hampshire, we need to delve into the reasons why our outcomes fall short, and address the specific steps we need to take in order to improve these outcomes. The work involved in achieving these goals will only be accomplished by strong collaboration and commitment among the board, the superintendent, the aldermen, and the community at large.

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Joseph Lachance

1. No. We are a state of laws and the city should not be a sanctuary for those who want to hide from the law. The end result could very well be a haven for criminals.

2. No. Override should be for safety issues.

3. Redistricting to more efficiently use the funds available for the school district is one major issue and the second is class sizes, which redistricting will help to alleviate classroom overcrowding. Lastly, school board members should NOT be offered a health benefit package and money saved on school board members not having extensive benefits should go directly to the classroom and our students.

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Ward 2

David Scannell

Did not respond due to lack of primary.

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Debra Gagnon Langton (Incumbent)

Did not respond due to lack of primary.

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Ward 3

Phillip Harris

Did not respond due to lack of primary.

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Mary Ngwanda Georges, 60 (Incumbent)

Founder/CEO of Victory Women of Vision, Founder/President of Congolese Community in NH

1. Yes, I will support making Manchester a sanctuary city. As minister of gospel, I cannot go against my beliefs.

2. We need to meet the negotiated salaries, already in place. That’s why I support the tax cap. We must meet the needs of our students to provide equality education in Manchester.

3. The top issue facing the city /schools is the drug epidemic, homelessness — even students — poverty. We have many empty buildings across the city that could be put to use to help families. I would address it by working in collaboration with as many of the agencies as possible and hold students accountable. Also, businesses should invest if they make money here, you invest here.


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