MANCHESTER, N.H. – Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig is looking for a third term leading New Hampshire’s largest city.
Craig, the 48th overall and first female mayor of Manchester, officially made the announcement on Tuesday morning after weeks of deliberation.
“This is a job that I am extremely grateful to have. I get to go work every day to make our city better, working with our community, our businesses, our residents,” said Craig. “I feel fortunate to have a job that I love that makes our community better. I’m grateful to have the opportunity to run again and I hope I can earn the support of our community.”
Her current term leading Manchester has been dominated by the city’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which began to hit the Queen City just months after she won re-election in November 2019.
Craig believes that the city was on an upward trend before the pandemic hit and thinks that the $44 million directly available to the City of Manchester in American Rescue Plan funds as well as additional federal COVID relief funding for the Manchester School District will help the city return to that trajectory.
However, she also believes that the city’s spirit was also vital to weathering the pandemic.
“We’ve just all encountered a difficult year and when I think back, I’m extremely grateful for how (the city government’s) department heads and city employees came together, how the community has come together to get through this,” she said. “Manchester is a very resilient city and it has shown through this pandemic. We were forced to make difficult decisions and change the way we do business immediately and we did that.”
Craig was unable to pin down one capstone accomplishment during her most recent term that stood out above any other accomplishment, noting a list of items such as the Manchester Small Business Recovery Loan Fund.
Supporters, such as Arnold Mikolo, noted different achievements, such as the creation of a Mayor’s Multicultural Advisory Council.
“I have seen firsthand how Mayor Joyce Craig has made Manchester a welcoming place for individuals of all different cultures,” said Mikolo. “Mayor Craig has worked to foster a sense of community for people of color, the LGBTQ community, folks with disabilities, and everyone who calls the Queen City home.”
Likewise, Craig does not see one key item of focus if re-elected, instead citing a variety of topics ranging from affordable housing to maintenance of city infrastructure such as roads, bike trails and parks.
And while it’s too soon to predict the end point to the pandemic, Craig says she looks forward to discussing city matters with voters on the campaign trail face-to-face if it is safe to do so under CDC guidelines.
“My favorite part of this job is interacting with the community, so it’s been extremely difficult over the last year where we haven’t been able to do that. In general, we’ve all been very isolated,” she said. “Lately, it seems like there’s light at the end of the tunnel with vaccines become more available, with warm weather here, so we’ve been able to engage with people and it’s been so enjoyable and I look forward to doing that in my day-to-day job and on the campaign trail as well.”