City Campaign Roundup: Endorsements from Ayotte and Teamsters, Girard talks on schools and housing

Sign Up For Our FREE Daily eNews!

It’s May 28, 2021, here’s what’s been going on lately on the campaign trail for the 2021 Manchester municipal election.

Victoria Sullivan earns Kelly Ayotte endorsement

This week, former U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) announced that she has endorsed Victoria Sullivan in the city’s mayoral race.

“I am so honored and humbled by Senator Ayotte’s confidence in me and our campaign. This support, particularly coming from another strong woman, propels me to strive even harder and push further for a Manchester that shines again. Kelly joining our team, along with the other fantastic supporters we have, sends a strong message that it is time to rescue our city,” said Sullivan.

“Victoria is the strong leader that Manchester needs. She has both the vision and drive to tackle the public safety and quality of life issues facing our state’s largest city,” said Ayotte. “As a former New Hampshire Attorney General, I have worked with Manchester’s first responders and appreciate how important it is for them to receive what they need to tackle the difficult challenges they face. I am also confident Victoria is up for the challenge. She has my full support.”

New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley issued a statement following the endorsement announcement.

“I’m not surprised that Corporate Kelly Ayotte endorsed Victoria Sullivan. They have a lot in common: both are completely beholden to special interests and were rejected by voters because they’re on the extreme wrong side of nearly every issue. Granite Staters voted Ayotte out of office in 2016 because she put her corporate special interest backers before the people of New Hampshire. Since then, she has continued to cash in by working for shady corporations like The Blackstone Group. Now, in a desperate attempt to cling to political relevance, Ayotte is supporting Victoria Sullivan and her fringe GOP agenda.”

Mayor Joyce Craig earns Teamsters Local 633 Endorsement

Mayor Joyce Craig met with UPS drivers, members of Teamsters Local 633, last week, following their endorsement for her reelection campaign. Photo via Twitter /@JoyceCriagNH

This week, Teamsters Local 633 endorsed Mayor Joyce Craig in her re-election campaign. Teamsters Local 633 include municipal and school district employees, as well as UPS and warehouse workers, among others. In total, Teamsters Local 633 represents about 5,500 members who work in NH, with approximately 1,500 members and retirees living in Manchester. Teamsters Local 633 is the first major organization to endorse any candidate for Mayor so far this election cycle.

“This past year, Teamsters Local 633 members met the challenges of working under extremely difficult circumstances, keeping our city running and providing essential services that our residents and businesses rely on,” said Craig. “I’m honored to have the early support of the hard-working men and women of Teamsters Local 633 and look forward to continuing our work to make a difference for working families in Manchester.”

“We’re proud to endorse the re-election of Mayor Joyce Craig,” said Jeffrey Padellaro, Secretary Treasurer/Principal Officer of Teamsters Local 633. “She is a strong partner for working families in Manchester. The City of Manchester, its employees, and residents are better served with Mayor Joyce Craig in office.”

Derek Dufresne, General Consultant for the Victoria Sullivan campaign, had this response regarding the endorsement.

“While it certainly isn’t surprising that union leadership is circling the wagons around a failed liberal mayor, what is remarkable is how much of their actual membership is ready for new leadership in City Hall and are, in fact, backing Victoria’s campaign,” said “Victoria’s family is a blue collar one, which is why as she travels around Manchester, she continues to earn support from working families who love the city and refuse to allow Joyce Craig’s failed tenure as mayor continue for another two years. We look forward to continuing to build on that support in the months to come.”

Rich Girard releases statements on “super high school,” housing

Rich Girard opposes a proposal put forth by school Superintendent John Goldhardt which would combine al three city high schools into one building. File Photo/Andrew Sylvia

This week, Rich Girard released a statement in opposition to Manchester School District Superintendent Dr. John Goldhardt’s plan to combine Manchester’s three high schools.

Girard said the annual bond payments would restrict the district from needed programming and resources as well as removing the tradition and community connections established over decades from the city’s public high schools.

“I reject the position that this proposal is necessary because school buildings can’t be modernized to educate children in the 21st Century.  The Millyard is a perfect example of what can happen with old buildings.  It’s a matter of leadership and leaders must establish and focus on the right priorities,” said Girard.

Several weeks ago, Girard released an educational plan focusing on school choice. One of the accompanying proposals Goldhardt provided with the high school idea was transforming the city’s middle schools into magnet schools where parents and students could choose their school.

Girard also released a plan to create more housing in the city, looking to review the city’s zoning regulations and facilitate mixed-use development as well as re-development of office space into residential space.

He opposed the recently released Mayor’s Affordable Housing Task Force report, stating that it focused too much on low-income housing rather than a broader approach.

“If the city’s focus remains on building more and more low-income housing, then middle and upper-middle-class families will continue to move out of the city and those looking to move into the Manchester area will continue to look elsewhere in search of neighborhoods and environments that are more to their liking,” he said. “Manchester is dangerously out of demographic balance and that is a direct result of all the low-income housing that has been built over the last twenty to thirty years.  If we don’t do something to correct that, then the city will continue to decline as so many urban areas across the country have.

Look for City Campaign Roundup every Friday on the Ink Link. Send items for consideration to Deadline is Wednesday for publication on Friday.

About this Author

Nathan Graziano

Nathan Graziano lives in Manchester with his wife and kids. He's the author of nine collections of fiction and poetry. His most recent book, Fly Like The Seagull was published by Luchador Press in 2020. He's a high school teacher and freelance writer, and in his free time, he writes bios about himself in the third person. For more information, visit his website: