MANCHESTER — Saying she believes the Queen City stands at a “crossroads” and she will help it “shine again,” Republican former state Rep. Victoria Sullivan announced Monday she is running for mayor of Manchester.
“We all know of several Queen City families who have made the choice to leave Manchester,” said Sullivan, a former Assistant House Majority Leader and Ward 9 resident. “We hear of countless would be visitors who chose to go elsewhere because of the current state of the city we love. It is a sad reality that Manchester is struggling and our current mayor is doing nothing to help correct the course. We must change that.”
Sullivan launched her campaign in front of the ‘Millie the Mill Girl’ statue on the staircase on Commercial Street, surrounded by an estimated 100 supporters who braved a cold rain to hear her speak.
“This statue of Millie recognizes the role of women as the backbone of the city,” said Sullivan. “From the Irish mothers fighting to save their children from famine to the women who fought for equality, the fight by strong women to make Manchester a better place is not confined to history. As a mother of two boys who are growing up in this city, like so many others, I’m a mom fighting for a better education for all of our children. I’m fighting to win the battle against substance addiction. I’m fighting for lower taxes for all Manchester families. I’m fighting for a stronger and more prosperous city.”
Sullivan pledged to work to make Manchester “attractive to new businesses, new families, and new visitors.”
“While we are at a crossroads, I truly believe Manchester can shine again,” said Sullivan. “I believe that together, we can take back this city and transform it into the place we all dream it can be. But to do that, we need a mayor who is one of us. We need a mayor who acknowledges the problems facing our city rather than just ignoring them. To continue to accept the status quo will be the acceptance of a beautiful city on a decline.”
In response, Mayor Joyce Craig — who announced last week she will seek reelection — issued a statement touting her achievements over her 15 months in office.
“I’m proud that over the last 15 months, we have been able to make a real difference in Manchester by building stronger schools, a healthier community, and a growing economy,” said Craig. “Over the next few months, I look forward to continuing to talk to residents on how we can continue to keep our city moving forward.”
Following Sullivan’s announcement, state Democrats quickly issued a statement touting her failed state rep race in 2018 in Ward 9, labeling her a “Trump wanna-be.”
“Victoria Sullivan is nothing more than a Trump wanna-be who spent her brief time in office actively working to take away her constituents’ health care and to defund their schools,” said New Hampshire Democratic Party Chair Ray Buckley in a statement. “Every vote she took and every stance she made promoted her extreme agenda at the expense of Manchester residents’ best interests. It’s no wonder voters rejected her fringe policies in 2018 and I have no doubt they will do the same this November when Manchester resoundingly votes to re-elect Mayor Craig.”
Derek Dufresne of RightVoter, a general consultant for the Sullivan for Mayor campaign, said “status quo” under Craig is not working, as the city has taken steps back “under her lack of leadership.”
“We’re experiencing near-daily reports of dangerous crime, our roads are crumbling, gang graffiti covers our bridges and overpasses, schools are suffering, and businesses and families are leaving,” said Dufresne. “We cannot afford another two years of Mayor Craig at the helm of our state’s largest city. It is time for a fresh perspective from a blue-collar, hardworking mom who understands the plight of Manchester families. It is time for a leader like Victoria Sullivan who is able to recognize that the current policies are not working and that it is time to find real solutions to turn Manchester around.”
In her campaign kickoff speech, Sullivan described her family as a “hard working, blue-collar” clan.
“My husband has worked two jobs so that I could be a stay-at-home mother,” said Sullivan. “We live on a tight budget and we have to make some very tough decisions about finances every month. But that is why I know what it means to you when career politicians start talking about overriding the tax cap and taking more of your hard-earned money. I understand that most Manchester families are living on around $55,000 per year and I see the sacrifices that families have to make every day. Those are the families I will be fighting for.”
Craig campaign announces fundraising numbers
Sullivan’s speech came a few hours after Craig’s camp announced her campaign had raised over $161,000 for this election cycle, with $140,000 of that coming in the first quarter of 2019. The campaign reported over $126,000 remaining cash on hand.
Craig’s campaign said those fundraising numbers are records for a Manchester mayor at the end of the first quarter in an election year.
“I’m so grateful for the grassroots support our campaign has received,” said Craig in a statement. “Our contributions come from those who see the progress we have made over the last 15 months and know that by working together, we can continue to address the challenges we face. These numbers reflect the energy and enthusiasm in Manchester to keep our city moving forward.”
Craig will host an official campaign kickoff event on Wednesday, April 24 at 6:30 p.m., at the SNHU Sandbox Collaborative, 1230 Elm St., Manchester. The event is free and open to the public. Guests are asked to RSVP online at bit.ly/MayorCraigKickOffEvent.