MANCHESTER WILL conduct its primary election this coming Tuesday, Sept. 17. There are primaries for mayor and the at-large aldermen and school committee members.
There are three candidates for mayor vying for two spots on the November ballot. It is expected that next week’s winners will be Joyce Craig and Victoria Sullivan (we’re not related).
I am a 65-year resident of Manchester, and the city is in the best shape I have ever seen. It is vibrant, with a bustling downtown and Millyard. Young people are moving into the city, not away. As a school committee member, an alderman, and now mayor, Craig has helped make that happen.
Under her leadership, the city school district received a $10,500,000 grant for the public schools to help students prepare for college. Partnerships with businesses have resulted in the Velcro University at West High School and the Eversource Academy at Central High School. These programs will help students with skills they will need in the workforce.
There also is economic development and vitality across the city.
Craig has worked tirelessly to combat the opioid problem. Despite Gov. Sununu’s “Hub and Spoke” program, which has caused more non-residents to come to the city for services, there has been a 19% decrease in overdoses since she took office.
Victoria Sullivan has a different kind of record.
Sullivan has tried to make an issue of the opioid epidemic. Yet as a state representative, when she had the opportunity to do something, she took a pass.
She voted against SB 131, an act to create a cross-border drug-interdiction program . The bill, which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support, was introduced specifically to help combat the flow of illegal drugs into our state and to combat opioids. As bad, in 2015 she was one of only a handful of representatives to vote against the creation of the joint task force on the heroin and opioid epidemic.
Sullivan voted against SB 191, the bipartisan bill that established state funding for full-day kindergarten. The bill passed, providing Manchester with an additional $1,100,000 in fiscal year 2019. This bill directly benefited Manchester’s children and taxpayers, yet Sullivan voted against it.
Manchester has an inventory of aging housing stock with lead paint issues. But, despite the fact that lead paint exposure can significantly affect children’s physical health and mental development, Sullivan voted against SB 247, which strengthened lead-poisoning laws.
After announcing her candidacy, Sullivan claimed the bill would have prohibited untested children from attending school. That is wrong. SB 247 contained an opt-out provision from testing if parents objected to the testing, and did not prohibit untested children from attending school.
Based on their records, I will be voting for Joyce Craig.
In the aldermanic at-large race, there are six candidates competing for four November ballot slots. We have two votes. Mine will be for incumbent Dan O’Neil and current school committee member Katie Desrochers.
O’Neil has been a steady voice on the aldermanic board. Katie Desrcohers will bring a fresh perspective and positive energy to the board.
In the school committee race, there also are six candidates for the four November ballot positions. One is Gene Martin, a graduate of Manchester public schools who has chosen to stay and raise his family here. He is hardworking and smart, exactly the kind of person we want on the board. Two other solid candidates are Jim O’Connell and Lara Quiroga. O’Connell is active with the Hillside PTO and hosts a public access show on education. Quiroga has worked on children’s projects at the Manchester Community Health Center.
It is an important primary for Manchester, so please, get out there and vote!