I have been asked by many of you what my thoughts are in races across the city. It is in response to those inquiries that I post the following endorsements in selected races across the city. Some will contain brief explanations. I am honored to be asked and offer my thoughts humbly in response. Thank you.
Victoria Sullivan (R) The New Hampshire Sunday News said all that needs to be said on this one.
Kathleen Kelly-Arnord (D) for Board of School Committee. Click here for related article.
Mary Ngwanda Georges (D) for Board of School Committee
A Democrat, Georges is under attack by Democrats for not towing the party line, especially on the “student voice” votes that came before the school board. She has been attacked by the racist wife of disgraced Ward 2 School Board Member David Scannell, among others, for “voting too often with Girard, Freeman and Beaudry.” (Beaudry is a Democrat.) While there were many times I wish Mary had voted with me, notably on Mayor Joyce Craig’s attempted coup to overthrow the Special Committee on Negotiations, I believe she does what she believes best. Reasonable people can disagree on what that is and Mary always remains reasonable and respectful.
Jim Roy (D) for Alderman and Mark Flanders (R) for School Board.
It’s good to see these two working together in this election. Roy represented Ward 4 well as an alderman and is far more fiscally responsible than the current incumbent who sees the city’s failure to increase spending by untold millions of dollars as its only real problem. While we give Chris Herbert points for having the courage of his convictions, we think Roy’s record of challenging the status quo to improve how the city operates as the better way to go.
Flanders has expertise in business, human resources and insurance the school district desperately needs. He also knows how to work with people, including those he disagrees with. Incumbent Leslie Want has flashes of honesty but ultimately caves into the political pressure brought by Mayor Joyce Craig and the district’s unions. A great example is how she went from singing the praises of the Special Committee on Negotiations to voting to disband it at the mayor’s request and the MEA’s demand. Like the mayor, she talks a good game about working with everybody but she really only cooperates with those who agree with her. If you don’t, she accuses you of not doing what’s best for kids. Flanders won’t entertain or promulgate such foolishness.
Tony Sapienza (D) for alderman and Lisa M. Freeman (R) for school board.
Sapienza is often a voice of common sense on the board who isn’t afraid to call his colleagues out for their hypocrisy. He also isn’t afraid to touch the third rails of union politics, taking aim at things that are in desperate need of change because they’re financially hazardous to the city. He’s close to the ground in the ward and knows its needs and those of its people. Simply put, he’s earned it.
Freeman has been vilified by those who don’t like being held accountable for their actions or the results of their recommendations. She is often attacked as an _____”ist” by those who can’t do battle with her position and, sadly, subsequently seek to soil her reputation. She is a genuine, sincere advocate for kids, especially those at the Beech Street and Henry Wilson schools. She has truly gone to bat for those kids and has had the audacity to apply common sense to the business before the board for all of Manchester’s students and staff. Losing her would be a blow to education in the city.
Elizabeth Ann Moreau (R) for alderman and Jon DiPietro (R) for school board.
Moreau has been a constant thorn in the side of the big spenders and rule breakers that dominate the board. She is a voice of conscience that lets everybody know what’s at play in board meetings.
DiPietro’s experience in business and technology would be of great benefit to the board. He’s an engineer and his business is all about digital technology and the Internet. As the district faces technology needs and attempts to navigate online treats, his expertise will prove invaluable. Moreover, he’s a numbers guy. A treasurer for an international organization, he understand budgets and knows how to work numbers. Moreover, he knows how to break it down so “Joe Average” can understand it all and follow along. That’s a gift. Taxpayers would be lucky to have him, especially given the current incumbent’s repeated partisan plays directed by the Democrat Party and teachers union. Both are busting their tails to return him to the board and it’s because he basically does what he’s told.
Ross Terrio (R) for alderman and Bill Shea (D) for school board.
Terrio will work as hard as an alderman as he did as a school board member. Those concerned about school issues should welcome Terrio’s candidacy as he’ll bring an intimate understanding of how the school board works to the Board of Aldermen. It’ll go a long way to informing their discussions on schools. Terrio’s opponent is a radical Left Wing Progressive who has joined student walk outs to demand crazy things like the Green New Deal to “save the planet.” Ward 7 won’t be her focus, nor will Manchester. She’ll be too busy trying to save the planet.
What can one say about Bill Shea? He wants a term on the school board to help improve the district’s ability to hold teachers and other staff accountable. A legendary life long educator in this city, he’s the right guy to be involved. He won’t be fooled when it comes to what needs to happen or what is possible in the classroom.
Mike Porter (R) for Alderman and Jimmy Lehoux (R) for school board.
Porter has been an outspoken citizen on many issues. He’s been fair, objective and impartial. Importantly, when new information is brought to his attention, he will let influence his opinion. Mike’s the kind of guy who wants to get it right, not be right. He’s also taken heat for standing against the popular tide when the facts demand it. That takes guts and that’s what this city needs. His opponent, Mike Farley is a nice enough guy. Like all of us, he’s made some mistakes in life. Stealing money from one’s clients isn’t a good thing. That said, the real issue I have with Farley is his refusal to even talk to “the other side.” He co-hosts a show on Manchester Public Television. Having asked to be a guest on the show, I know first hand that they ONLY talk to progressive Democrats who share their point of view. Don’t expect that to change if he’s elected alderman. What ever the party tells him to do, he’ll do.
Lehoux has, in my opinion, been one of the best school board members of the last 20 years. He misses nothing, cares about everything, challenges the status quo, thinks out of the box and gets things done. He’s brought parents into the process as has never been done before and significantly improved their opportunities for input and participation. His efforts to work with the trades to develop and implement vocational education opportunities in the district’s middle schools has been, in a word, revolutionary. It’s earned the district NATIONAL recognition from media outlets and trade publications. He’s also helped resolve issues too numerous to list here. His hard and effective work has earned him the vehement opposition of the Manchester Education Association. Not only did the MEA recruit his opponent, Peter Perich, they’ve staffed and funded his campaign, provided volunteers for all of its events and been busy on the rumor mill in an attempt to discredit Lehoux. My knowing guess is because he hasn’t buckled to their pressure at the bargaining table where he represents the school board. I’ve known Perich for years and consider him a friend. That said, I am profoundly disappointed that he allowed his staff, without any public rebuke, to throw mud at Lehoux for donating cash from concerts he’s done to benefit the soccer and music programs at Memorial. Moreover, inasmuch as his entire candidacy is a function of the MEA, one has to expect that if he wins they’ll be looking for their due and they will come looking. It’s never pretty when payment is due to the interest to which one is beholden.
Barbara Cartier Shaw (D) for Alderman and Arthur Beaudry (D) for school board.
Neither is in any danger of losing and both deserve reelection both because of who is targeting them for defeat but more so because of what they’ve done to earn it. I agree with them about as often as I disagree with them, but you can talk to them, work with them and disagree with them without being the enemy. They’re class acts who do what they think is best.
Ray Hebert (R) for alderman and Dr. John Avard (R) for school board.
There are many reasons to elect Ray Hebert over incumbent Bill Barry. Five come to mind and they’re all the times Barry, who claims to “respect the tax cap” voted to override the tax cap. He has a perfect voting record when it comes to overriding the cap. He’s voted for it every time. And, he’s voted for every budget busting union contract he’s later used to justify breaking the tax cap saying not to do so would jeopardize services. Then there are his flagrant violations of school district policies and rules. Click here for details.
Ray Hebert, on the other hand, has a life time in business, youth sports and community service that is a model of integrity. Ray is known as someone who does what he says and says what he does. His business expertise and community connections will be invaluable assets to the board and the city as an aldermen, as will his time on the Highway Commission. He’ll know more about roads, sewers and parks than anyone who has sat on that board. He’ll be a very influential voice for change that benefits the taxpayer by knowing how to make services more effective, efficient and responsive. Ray also has a heart. Under his leadership, his company has donated nearly $70,000 in the last three or so years to help the school district’s homeless children programs and the Manchester Police Athletic League. He’s just a stand up guy.
It’s no secret that Avard and I haven’t always seen eye to eye, so this endorsement might come as a bit of a surprise. For my disagreements with Avard, he’s clearly the better choice in this race. Moreover, with so many board members retiring their seats this term, his institutional memory will be a valuable asset to the board.
Russ Ouellette for alderman and Brittany Leclerc Ping for school board.
Ouellette has served the ward as both an alderman and school board member. Since resigning the aldermanic seat, he’s confronted his alcoholism and done a remarkable job turning his life around. He’s the perfect example of how people can change their lives. Given the opioid epidemic that’s crushing the city, his personal experience with addiction will provide an informed voice on how best to approach these issues. On fiscal issues, he’s a much better fit for the ward than incumbent Normand Gamache. Like Barry, Gamache is 5 for 5 in voting to override the tax cap. Gamache, like Barry, also believes he’s above the law. His votes on union contracts for teachers and fire supervisors are clear, direct and flagrant violations of the city charter. Despite being told so by former City Solicitor Thomas Clark, he’s voted on them anyway, providing his children with really big pay raises.
Brittany Leclerc Ping is a businesswoman in the ward. The properties she manages have been cleaned up, cleaned out and become credits to their neighborhoods. She has children who will soon enter the schools and she’s not the kind of person who will sit idly by when she sees things she can make better. Her expertise in Human Resources will be of tremendous help to a district that has had profound challenges with hiring staff and holding them accountable. Moreover, because she’s in the trenches every day with her tenants, she knows them, understand their needs and can well represent then and address them on the school board. It’s been a long time since Ward 11 had “one of them” on the board. Their voice will be heard by Brittany Leclerc Ping, whose opponent, is just another Democratic political hack recruited to be a “yes man” or “yes woman” to Mayor Joyce Craig. Both women come to Manchester from out of state, one from Nebraska, the other from Indiana, so the whisper campaign against Leclerc Ping for not being from her is a just a wee bit disingenuous.
Keith Hirschmann (R) for alderman and Kelly Thomas (R) for school board.
To drive through Ward 12, one might conclude that Hirschmann’s going to get swamped. If signs could vote, Hassan Essa would win in a landslide. The recent high school grad and full time college student is billed as a fresh face in city politics. The trouble is he’s a wholly owned subsidiary of the Democratic Party. This fresh face will do as he’s told, not what Ward 12 residents want. Hirschmann has made budget proposals demonstrating that the city can live within the tax cap, even considering the whopping pay raises it’s granted to employees, including the police and fire fighter contracts he’s voted for. The city’s large surpluses at the end of the past two years budgets would seem to support his contention that the budgets are too big. Hirschmann has also fought for changes, like the single man trash trucks (one arm bandits) that reduced the need for “garbage men” and wiped out their workers compensation costs. Those garbage men can now be used in other areas of Public Works to improve the city. He’s also been good with the constituents services and has earned another term.
We’ve already written about Kelly Thomas’ race. Please click here for the article.
Joe Kelly Levasseur and Will Infantine for alderman
Joe Lachance and Lara Quiroga for school board.
While Lachance’s endorsement is not a surprise, Quiroga’s, no doubt, will be.
Based on what I’ve seen of Quiroga, I actually don’t like her. I find her sanctimonious and off-putting. However, I don’t get the impression she’ll play “party ball” and thought she gave a responsible answer on spending those one time added state revenues in the New Hampshire Union Leader‘s candidate survey. She said she’d only support using one time funds on one time expenses. This is something I can support, therefore, she will have mine in the election.
Lachance was the only other person to make that pledge. Click here for their answers to the Union Leader’s candidate survey.