Mayoral candidates share different views at Young Professionals forum

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Event Moderators Stephen Denis and Keri Pappalardo. Photo/Andrew Sylvia

GOFFSTOWN, NH – As the days dwindle toward Manchester’s Mayoral Primary Election, the four candidates looking to become the final two candidates on November’s Manchester Municipal General Election ballot shared their ideas during a forum at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College organized by the Manchester Young Professionals (MYP) program of the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce.

Event Moderators Stephen Denis and Keri Pappalardo took turns with posting questions to the candidates offered by MYP members in advance and each candidate received a different set of questions. Still, all four candidates referenced the need for more housing at one point during each of their approximately 15-minute individual segments with the pair of moderators.

Jay Ruais, the first candidate of the evening, indicated that the key is to make it easier for developers to build new units, something Will Stewart agreed with and expanded upon by urging a simplification of the city’s zoning ordinance.

June Trisciani mentioned the need for housing to help keep the rebirth of technological companies in the Millyard such as the Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute (ARMI) going strong. Kevin Cavanaugh mentioned the need for more housing not just for young professionals but also for the elderly.

Of the four candidates, only Ruais was given a question regarding homelessness, where he echoed statements made during a recent press conference supporting a “trampoline rather than hammock” approach toward disrupting the cycle of homelessness. While Stewart was not given a question on homelessness, but used his closing remarks to direct members of the audience to see his policy points on that and other issues on his website. Ruais also emphasized the need for listening and being proactive in seeking out viewpoints from under-advantaged communities within the city.

Trisciani emphasized her previous connections working with community groups, particularly on the West Side, and praised the efforts of the city’s Economic Development office, a city department that also received praise from Kevin Cavanaugh. Cavanaugh and Trisciani also praised the Manchester School District’s recent updates regarding their facilities plan.

All four candidates also either directly or indirectly alluded to the need to challenge the status quo of how things are now in Manchester, but most of the event focused on distinct answers and thoughts provided by each of the candidates given the forum’s separate sets of questions for each candidate segment.

Ruais talked about the need to reform personal recognizance bail and talked about the inspiration he receives from his wife who emigrated from Peru in 2005 without knowing any English only to eventually become a successful member of the community through hard work.

Stewart responded to a question on climate change by hoping the city joins municipal aggregate energy collectives and expands recycling and composting programs for residents while also building more resilient infrastructure. Stewart also discussed the need for Manchester to become “rail-ready,” stating that commuter rail coming to the city is a non-starter as long as the New Hampshire Executive Council is held by Republicans, but that the city must be ready with enhanced pedestrian infrastructure to incorporate commuter rail if that political reality changes.

Trisciani talked about the unflappability she gained through experience as a teacher and corporate software executive, discussing the need to seek out more young people to engage in volunteer opportunities within city government and urge local companies to provide child care for employees with young children.

Cavanaugh stressed the need to provide economic opportunities for young adults from various educational backgrounds and briefly touched on the frustration Stewart noted with the lack of commuter rail support from Concord. However, regarding public transportation, Cavanaugh instead focused on electric Manchester Transit Authority Buses and enticing rental bicycle services to come into the city. He also noted that a full-time grant writer may be a good use of city funds.

The event was recorded by Manchester Public Television.


About this Author

Andrew Sylvia

Assistant EditorManchester Ink Link

Born and raised in the Granite State, Andrew Sylvia has written approximately 10,000 pieces over his career for outlets across Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. On top of that, he's a licensed notary and licensed to sell property, casualty and life insurance, he's been a USSF trained youth soccer and futsal referee for the past six years and he can name over 60 national flags in under 60 seconds according to that flag game app he has on his phone, which makes sense because he also has a bachelor's degree in geography (like Michael Jordan). He can also type over 100 words a minute on a good day.