More than 100 people turned out last week for the grand opening of Mayor Joyce Craig‘s campaign office at 264 Mammoth Road.

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The event featured Ward 10 Alderman Bill Barry and Craig’s husband, attorney Mike Craig, working a grill outside while supporters mingled inside. The mayor made a brief speech summarizing achievements and progress the city has made over her first year and a half in office.

“We’ve really built a sense of collaboration within the city, and through that we’ve been able to tackle some of the serious challenges and really move the city forward,” Craig said. “When you think about education, or economic development, or some of the social issues that are affecting our residents, we’ve made some great progress. It’s not just because of me; it’s because of people in the community, both business folk, residents and nonprofits. I am so grateful for the Manchester community and their desire to really step up for our community.”

Craig mentioned the opioid epidemic and the homeless population in downtown Manchester, saying while the Queen City is a “compassionate community,” instead of giving the homeless money and food, the city is working to help them get into safe shelters where they can get the help they need.

“These are serious issues that we have faced in the city for years,” Craig said. “We know we are not going to be able to address them completely overnight, but we need to stay focused on them.”

One day after the office opening, Craig’s campaign announced the first members of the “Business Leaders for Joyce Craig” advisory group. The group includes more than 50 small and large business leaders in the Queen City representing technology, retail and hospitality businesses, along with developers and others.

“Manchester has experienced unprecedented economic growth and I’ve worked hard to ensure our businesses are thriving with help from City Hall, not in spite of it,” Craig said in a statement. “As mayor, I’ve seen firsthand the commitment our business community has to our city and our future and I am honored to have the support of leaders dedicated to our collective success.”

“Having elected officials like Mayor Craig recognize the needs of business is refreshing,” said Tom Boucher, Owner of CJ’s Great West Grill and Great NH Restaurants Inc., in a statement. “Joyce is a strong ally and advocate for businesses in Manchester.”

“As mayor, Joyce has been accessible and responsive to the needs of downtown businesses like ours,” said Keating Tufts, co-owner of Board and Brews, in a statement. “As a Manchester public school graduate who chose to open a business here, I appreciate her being present downtown, understanding the unique challenges facing businesses, listening to the needs of the business community, and responding to them.”

The full list of business leaders can be found at https://bit.ly/2XWtLVf.

Several candidates threw their hats into the political arena last week, publicly announcing their intention to run for office in this year’s municipal election.

Chris Potter announced he will oppose longtime Ward 7 Alderman and former Hallsville Elementary School Principal Bill Shea for the Ward 7 seat on the Board of School Committee.

Lara Quiroga has announced a run for an at-large seat on the school board.

“As a mother of a student who has attended Manchester public schools, and as a tireless community champion for children and families, I’m committed to prioritizing student learning and achievement in our schools,” Quiroga said in a Facebook post announcing her candidacy. “It’s time to restore civility and common sense problem-solving to the school board.”

Ward 10’s John Avard, who previously announced on social media he would not seek reelection this fall, took to Facebook June 14 to say he has changed his mind.

“After much careful consideration, reflection and prayer, I have come to the decision that now is not the time for me to leave the Manchester Board of School Committee,” Avard wrote. “We have begun some wonderful changes in the Manchester School District, and with new incoming leadership in the superintendent’s office and many of my most experienced colleagues ending their time on the board, I feel that my experience and talents are best used in service to Ward 10 and the City of Manchester. If the residents of Ward 10 so please, it would be my honor to serve them for another term as their School Committeeman.”

For those considering a run for office, the filing period for all municipal candidates runs from Monday, July 8, at 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, July 19. For additional information visit the election section of the City Clerk page at www.manchesternh.gov or call 624-6455.

Republican former state Rep. Victoria Sullivan, a candidate for mayor of Manchester, this weekend unveiled an additional 12 ward co-captains.

The second wave of ward co-captains include:

Ward 1: Andrew Fromuth, an executive at Adtech Systems Inc.

Ward 2: Doug Whitfield, an activist and a former Republican nominee from Ward 2 for state representative in 2014, 2016 and 2018. He also was a nominee for Ward 2 selectman in 2011.

Ward 3: Phillip Harris, an activist and the Republican nominee for state representative in Hillsborough District 42 in 2018.

Ward 4: S. Daniel Mattingly, a candidate for state representative in 2008, 2014 and 2016, and alderman at-large in 2013.

Ward 5: Kelly Caissie, a longtime Ward 5 resident.

Ward 6: Jon DiPietro, the secretary for the Manchester Republican Committee, a small business owner and a former candidate for school board.

Ward 7: Ross Terrio, a school board member for Ward 7, a former state representative, and a United States Marine Corps veteran.

Ward 8: Mark McLean, who is serving a third term as state representative, and treasurer for the Manchester Republican Committee.

Ward 9: Mike Egan, a longtime activist and small business owner in Manchester.

Ward 10: Tammy Simmons, the current chairman of the Manchester Republican committee and a former two-term state representative.

Ward 11: Brittany Ping, the current vice chairman of the Manchester Republican Committee.

Ward 12: Verna Perry, who served as Ward 12 moderator from 2013-17.

Paul Feely is the City Hall reporter for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. Reach him at pfeely@unionleader.com.