Following last week’s election, Manchester elected a new mayor and also saw the election of several new aldermen. Although the Board of Mayor and Aldermen is officially non-partisan, there has always been an unofficial partisan influence in Manchester’s municipal politics and the new board has an assumed new balance of seven Democrats and seven Republicans. Manchester Ink Link reached out to each of the aldermen-elect chosen by voters last week to get their thoughts on how the board will operate over the next two years.
Chris Morgan – Ward 1
I’m excited to work hard for the ward, I’m looking to do what’s best for the families and businesses, to make things safer and community
We’ve all had conversations (on the board), everyone is excited to make some change and it will be interesting to see the board’s dynamic. Just because it’s seven to seven, we’ll all work for what’s best for our ward. I will work on what’s best for my ward. Our ward is very split on how people see things.
This is all new to me, I guess I will kind of see when I’m there. I’m not beholden to any group, and it’s important that I stay true to the ward. It was a very close race, so for me to go one way and ignore everyone else would be foolish on my part.
I’ll be looking mostly at basic constituent issues like trash and paving property values
Dan Goonan – Ward 2
I know everyone’s saying, on election night everybody’s saying it’s a 7-7 board, I don’t think it will be 7-7 votes all the time. I will vote what’s best for the wards and what’s best for Manchester. I’m going to do my research and I’m not just going to support the party line.
I will vote in a way that I think is best, and I think there are a couple of other aldermen who feel the same. I think the next two years will be different. In the big picture, the voters wanted change.
It’s too soon to tell the makeup, but I do have institutional knowledge and I think several other aldermen have an independent viewpoint.
Pat Long – Ward 3
I think everyone will come together for the best interests of the city. I served under (former mayors) Frank Guinta and Ted Gatsas. I assume this won’t be much different.
Christine Fajardo – Ward 4
I think when I came on, I was part of a wave of new people and I think we have a scenario of new people coming on so I think it’s important to assume positive intent. I will want to step forward as someone who was just a new person, so I want to step up and offer my support where I can and not assume that since we’re 7-7 we’re going to be having conversations that are 7-7. Each of us tends to come to each issue as a stand-alone issue.
I’ve heard that people call the board a rubber stamp, but I know that’s not true and I hope people make sure to continue looking at each issue. No decision is ever perfect, but the main thing for me is that we’ve made a lot of progress, and we’re making long gains in things like housing and addressing homelessness. I think we have the ship going in the right direction and I hope we don’t have important decisions undone. But if that happens, that happens. Every two years the pendulum tends to swing, and that’s not just our city.
Tony Sapienza – Ward 5
I try to keep party politics out of Ward 5, I’ve worked with Democratic Mayors and Republicans Mayors and my only goal is to work for the people of Ward 5
It’s not 7 to 7, I’m not on anybody’s side except for the people of Ward 5
Crissy Kantor – Ward 6
I am so excited and grateful for the newly elected mayor & board of aldermen. The people of Manchester expect and deserve accountability, transparency and integrity and I believe we will deliver just that. With Jay’s leadership and our commonsense values, big hearts, great ideas and work ethics we will together make Manchester great again!
Ross Terrio – Ward 7
I have been told that it has been 34 years since Manchester has had a Republican mayor and a Republican majority on the board (technically it’s not a majority but the mayor is the deciding vote making it 8 to 7). I doubt there will be a tax cap override under Mayor Ruais.
If the Republicans stick together, Mayor Ruais can get a lot done. The voters will bring him back in 2 years if he is able to make progress in the areas of crime, homelessness, quality of our schools, and more housing – all while continuing the expected city services. If he doesn’t make progress I think the voters will pick a new mayor in the next election. That being said, knowing Jay Ruais like I do, he is not combative and I see him working closely with the 7 Democrats to get their input and as many of their votes as possible on big issues.
Ed Sapienza – Ward 8
Manchester Ink Link was unable to reach Alderman Sapienza, we will add his response if we can obtain it.
Jim Burkush – Ward 9
We are elected to represent all residents of our Ward. I have demonstrated this in my first term and I plan on doing the same going forward.
We have many challenges ahead of us, but I am confident we will work together for a better City.
Bill Barry – Ward 10
I’m looking forward to working with the newly elected Mayor and Aldermen for the next two years. I’ve always believed that we have a great city and I’m very proud of the work that we have done in the past. I’m hoping that everyone who was elected realizes that we were all elected by our constituents to represent them to the best of our ability. Party affiliation is irrelevant.
Norm Vincent – Ward 11
I believe the Aldermen elected all share a common goal of doing what is best for their individual Wards and the city. Success to me is coming together to create the best possible community for the people of Manchester.
Kelly Thomas – Ward 12
I am very pleased with the election results and as the results show, so are many residents of the city. I believe the elected board officials will be able to advocate for residents in a more productive way, leading Manchester on a path to great change which is desperately desired. I believe the elected officials will have great judgment and guidance, from the Mayor-elect, in developing strategies to reduce crime and implementing these to allow for a safer, more desirable city. Given Mr. Ruais’ history, he fully understands the role of leadership and I am fortunate to be given the opportunity to sit beside him on the Board of Mayor and Aldermen come January.
Joseph Kelly Levasseur – At-Large
The Board should work out fine. A group of very experienced aldermen are mixed in with new energetic aldermen and a mayor who are really pumped up and ready to make Manchester a better place to live, work and play. I think it will be one of the best boards I have had to pleasure to work with.
Dan O’Neil – At-Large
I’m optimistic. I have spoken with people who talked to (Mayor-elect) Ruais and the term that was used was that Manchester is not a “red” (Republican) or “blue” (Democratic) city, but a “purple” one and I hope that approach is taken.
I’ve heard people say Ruais will pursue a zero-based budget. Certainly with ties they can do things even with a 7-7 tie, but I don’t think there will be enough support to impact vetoes.
All the discussions I’ve had with him were cordial. I’m a realist, I’m used to how things work as this will be the eighth mayor I’ve served with. My hope is that the board is not truly a split board and we can find common ground.