The Soapbox: ‘Craig is the perfect choice for Manchester’

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O  P  I  N  I  O  N

The Soapbox

Stand up. Speak up. It’s your turn.

As a former refugee for over two decades and as an activist for refugees and the Immigrant population in the Granite State, I’m proud to support Mayor Joyce Craig for reelection. 

In the last 10 years, I worked with over 16 ethnic communities and their leaders to improve the living standard of the New American population in Manchester. My lasting understanding serving as an ad hoc committee member on Strategic Planning, Marketing and Development at the Manchester Community Health Center, Board of Director at the Building Community in New Hampshire, and the member of the Youth Services Advisory Board at the City of Manchester gave me an immense opportunity to support the minority population navigate through resources and simplify their needs in making their livelihood better. For all the wonderful services, I was recognized as a member of New Hampshire Union Leader 40 under 40 class of 2017. 

As we all know New Hampshire is a home for people from 150 different nationalities. There are over 136 foreign languages spoken by students in the Granite Schools. From fiscal years 2011-2018, New Hampshire became home for 3,177 refugees. Between 2008 and 2015, an estimated 247,000 people moved into New Hampshire from other states. Mayor Craig’s first tenure has a phenomenal impact on the economy and the overall educational advancement to the new American population in the city. Lately, under Craig’s leadership, the school district had received a $10.3 million grant over the next seven years to help seventh- and eighth-grade students get an understanding of what college is all about and what courses to take to prepare for college and for the workforce. 

Craig supports welcoming diversity in our community and backed it up by supporting the city’s diversity resolution. This energizes a situation for people to start and invest more in the local businesses. According to statistics recorded by the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies (NHCPPS), there are 4,253 new immigrant business owners in the Granite, and they had a total net business income of $252 million. That makes up 5.8 percent of all net business income in the state and involves more than 5,000 employees. This assorted loveliness and drives New Hampshire to be one of the vibrant states. Thus, the U.S. News and World Report’s 2019 ranks New Hampshire a No. 1 ‘Best State’ for the opportunity in the country. Without the effort of Mayor Craig, who is leading the New Hampshire’s biggest city, this all would NOT have possible. 

Different ethnic communities across the city with heavy immigrant populations already have their own versions of an immigrant affairs office that helps coordinate localized social services. It represents the largest immigration coalition that has been active on various issues and they have chosen to endorse Craig because of her record and her trajectory on working for these families and these communities in the city. Her firsthand commitment toward the local business community, panhandling, services, housing options, and preventive measures are second to none. She has been focusing on tackling the education system, homelessness, and encouraging economic development throughout her time in the office. In an interview a month ago, Craig said that Manchester has made “great strides” in battling the opioid crisis, as shown by a 19 percent decrease in overdoses and a 22 percent decrease in opioid-related deaths in 2018 as compared to the prior year. 

Therefore, the statistics and the real work evidence of Mayor Craig I have highlighted above generate enough proof that there won’t be anyone better than her to lead our city for next term. 

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Tilak was honored with the “Premiere Production Award 2013-2014’ by Concord TV and was selected as a member of the New Hampshire Union Leader’s “40 under 40” class of 2017. He serves as an ad hoc committee member on Strategic Planning, Marketing, and Fundraising Committee for the Manchester Community Health Center and is also serving on the Youth Services Advisory Board to Mayor’s Office and the Board of Director at the Building Community in New Hampshire


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