MANCHESTER, N.H. – A new year has come, and just like every even-numbered new year, a new slate of elected officials in Manchester has come along with it.
On Tuesday, newly-elected Board of School Committee members, Aldermen and Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig gathered at the Palace Theatre to be sworn in for a two-year term serving the people of Manchester.
Dianne Mercier, president of People’s United Bank, served as the Master of Ceremonies for the event while Pastor John Rivera or Hope Tabernacle provided an invocation and benediction for the inaugural festivities.
Rivera said that the elected officials were not just elected, but chosen by God to lead the people of Manchester to a brighter future
“My hope is that (the elected officials) will lead the way that King David led, with integrity of heart, and skillful hands,” he said.
U.S. Representative Chris Pappas (D-NH-01) provided joking praise for the city for holding the inauguration indoors after attending Portsmouth’s ceremony the previous night outside in freezing winter weather. However, he also provided sincere praise for Craig on her efforts combating the COVID-19 pandemic, supporting local businesses and being responsive to the needs of Manchester’s neighborhoods.
Pappas said he would do whatever he could to provide federal assistance to the city when needed, and also urged the newly elected officials to work collaboratively despite their differences to serve the people of Manchester.
“We know the next couple of years will be full of challenges, some of those will be obvious to us, others will make themselves known in due course,” said Pappas. “But I think this term also provides new opportunities for collaboration, for people to work together with common purpose on issues of the day and in the hopes we all have for tomorrow.”
Craig noted that not everyone that wanted to attend the event was able to due to COVID-19 social distancing restrictions, but was grateful for those in attendance. She also thanked Pappas, several members of her family, Mercier, Rivera, the Manchester Central Jazz Band for providing music for the event, former Manchester Mayor Syl Dupuis, and the city’s department heads and employees.
She then honored recently deceased Ward 9 Alderman Barbara Shaw and mourned for those lost during the COVID-19 pandemic, but also noted the city’s ability to rebound from adversity, using the Millyard’s transition from a world leader in textile manufacturing to a high-tech hub over the 20th Century.
“We have accomplished some incredible things amid some of the most challenging times in our city’s history. But that’s what Manchester does. We persevere,” she said.
Craig also stated accomplishments in areas such as crime reduction, community health, economic assistance to the less fortunate and specific initiatives such as the city’s new Director of Homeless Initiatives, the city’s first-ever Housing Commission, christening the largest solar array in the state, the recent $25 million RAISE Grant for the South Elm corridor, the addition of Spirit Airlines at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport and being named as a finalist in the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Build Back Better Regional Challenge among others.
“It’s been an honor to serve as your Mayor for these last four years, and I’m grateful to have earned another term to build on the progress we’ve made,” she said. “This is our moment. Together, we will seize the opportunity before us. Together, we will embrace transformative projects. And together, we will create enduring change for Manchester.”