Mayoral candidate Will Stewart launches first of 12 ward campaign listening sessions

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The Green Beautiful vegan eatery on Wilson Street was a backdrop for Will Stewart’s campaign gathering on May 20, 2023. Stewart is running for mayor. Photo/Winter Trabex

MANCHESTER, NH – Supporters of Will Stewart’s campaign for mayor gathered in the Green Beautiful Restaurant Saturday morning to discuss pressing problems and issues facing the city.

The Green Beautiful is a restaurant/coffee shop on Wilson Street that features an entirely vegan menu for breakfast and lunch. The event in Ward 7 was the first of 12 events on Stewart’s listening tour, in which he plans to go about the city and listen to the concerns of people in each ward.

Attendees sat on a comfortable pink couch and around tables while they talked with Stewart who announced his campaign on March 22, a few days after Mayor Joyce Craig announced she would not seek a fourth term as mayor.

Will Stewart held the first of 12 planned listening stops on May 20 in Ward 7 as part of his mayoral campaign. Photo/Winter Trabex

While Stewart has openly talked about addressing homelessness, housing affordability, and education, an unexpected topic came up from Jason Bonilla, a member of a local school board: the fact that Latino and BIPOC individuals don’t see themselves reflected in city government positions, whether in the Board of Mayor and Aldermen, in administrative positions, or as city employees. Both Bonilla and Stewart admitted it was a problem for members of minority groups not actively involved in making their city better.

Topics, Stewart said, “…ranged the gamut from schools, public safety, to being able to activate the talent that we have here in our community. I think one of the things that’s top on a lot of people’s minds is homelessness. So my approach would be to look at the whole issue a little bit more holistically. I think if you ask a lot of people right now, ‘what’s our goal regarding homelessness,’ you get a lot of different answers. To my mind, the goal is simple. As a city, we need to agree to end homelessness.”

In addition to serving as an Alderman for Ward 2, he is also the Executive Director of a non-profit called Stay Work Play, whose goals are to retain young talent in New Hampshire and make the state a more equitable and just place for people of color. One of the ways the organization aims to achieve these ends is through its Rising Stars Leadership Program, which features six different events aimed at inculcating leadership qualities in young people.

One of Stewart’s supporters was lawyer Patrick N. Long, who had kicked off his own campaign for Alderman of Ward 7 at the Green Beautiful Restaurant two days prior. 

Residents came out to hear what mayoral candidate Will Stewart had to say on the issues. Photo/Winter Trabex

Long discussed cost of living and housing affordability. He wanted to make it easier for private developers to construct new properties, as well as have more dedicated affordable housing units. In his words, some people, no matter how hard they try, are never going to be able to afford market-rate housing.

When speaking of disparate results regarding homelessness coming from different organizations not acting in concert, Stewart said, “I think we need to incentivize all of our providers who are assisting with the homelessness issue to coordinate their services. We need to see all of the individuals as individuals and craft individualized solutions.”

Stewart’s next events will be announced on his Twitter page, while those wishing to learn more about his campaign can visit


About this Author

Winter Trabex

Winter Trabex is a freelance writer from Manchester and regular contributor to Community Voices.