MANCHESTER, NH – The “Original Pat Long” who is Chairman of the Board of Mayor Aldermen was not at Pat Long the lawyer’s campaign kickoff at Green Beautiful Restaurant on Wilson Street around dinnertime Tuesday, but many board members were there.
Mayor Joyce Craig and the three aldermen who are vying to succeed her, Kevin Cavanaugh, Will Stewart and June Trisciani, were there, as was Ward 7 Alderman Mary Heath, the woman that Pat Long the Lawyer wants to succeed.
The other folks who turned out to give a boost to the newest Pat Long on the Queen City political scene included Ward 9 Alderman Jim Burkush, State Representatives Amanda Bouldin and Patty Cornell, former Manchester teachers union head Maxine Mosely, and The First Man of the Queen City himself, Mayor Craig’s husband Mike.
Mayor Craig actually opened the door to the restaurant for Mike and her campaign chairman Arthur Gatzoulis (Mike’s law partner) as well as for this author, who arrived at the door simultaneously with the Craig Party, coming from the other direction.
I was laden with a laptop, a movie camera, a tripod, and much embarrassment that I hadn’t opened the door for the Mayor.
But that’s the Joyce Craig I’ve known for eight years, whom I first met while sitting next to her at a New Hampshire Democratic Party dinner featuring as keynote speaker some prominent out-of-state politician with presidential hopes who I no longer remember.
I do remember Joyce from that night. I found out that not only was she a fan of the movie Grease, but that before she married Mike she had had the same nickname as I, “Hoppy.”
Joyce Hopkins Craig gets things done. She got to the door first, and opened it.
Aside from State Rep. Bouldin, the Mayor and her party were the first folks to arrive.
The three Board of Mayor and Aldermen members who seek to be the first through the door of the Mayor’s Office come January 2024 soon followed.
After mingling with the crowd, it was the “other” Pat Long’s time to get things done.
In what may very well have been his first political speech for elective office, the candidate announced, “Just in case anyone is confused, this is Ward 7 and I’m the other Pat Long, not the one from Ward 3.”
Ward 7’s Pat Long is an immigration lawyer who has been interested in public service from the time he was a boy.
“My grandmother kind of tricked me into it,” he said. “My grandfather was a Marine who fought in three wars, and she would tell me stories about his military service.
“Originally I was just a little kid, and it was entertaining to hear about war and adventure. I didn’t really pay attention to the deeper lessons she was trying to teach me,” he said. “Over time she did teach me lessons about the importance of service and sacrifice for the greater good, and the sacrifice my grandfather made serving in three wars.”
Pat spoke more about the man who inspired him, the man kept alive in his grandmother’s memories. “Ultimately, he gave his life in the service of our country.”
Pat’s grandfather did not die in combat, but from cancer. While participating in the testing of the H-Bomb on an atoll in the Pacific, he had been exposed to the radiation released by nuclear weapons.
Just before his 19th birthday, Pat Long joined the service and spent 10 ½ years in the National Guard. He said his only regret is that his grandmother had passed before she could see him do his duty by serving his country and his family.
A veteran of the War on Terror who served in Iraq, Pat’s commitment to public service influenced his decision to go to law school after he finished college and to specialize in immigration law.
Originally from Tennessee, Ward 7’s Pat Long spoke of how he came to be connected to Manchester. It was through his military service.
His unit would muster at the Army National Guard Armory on Canal Street, the Queen City becoming part of his life for those six years as they utilized the facility. Eventually, Manchester became his home.
Pat Long the Lawyer moved up I-93 from Boston to Manchester because the cost of living became too expensive in The Hub. Now, what happened there is happening here.
“Manchester is facing serious issues,” he said. “Homelessness and housing affordability – it’s a multifaceted crisis. Housing is becoming too expensive.”
As an alderman, one of his top priorities would be the building of affordable housing. Long believes that it is essential to support initiatives addressing the drivers of homelessness, the substance abuse and mental health issues that cause many afflicted individuals to become unhoused. The crisis of individuals becomes a social crisis when the proper care and affordable housing are not available.
Long is open to ideas wherever they come from, be it his fellow Democrats or from Republicans.
“I’m a Democrat,” he said. “Being from Tennessee, and an Iraq veteran, and a small-time landlord, I do understand the values of the other side and I want to work with them to do what we can do to solve the challenges facing the city.”
Pat Long of Ward 7 believes the other big challenge facing Manchester is the proper funding of public schools. He recognizes that the lack of funding for Manchester schools ultimately is a state problem.
Long supports the lawsuits filed against the state seeking to reverse its chronic underfunding of Manchester schools. He is committed to boosting the resources available to public schools.
It was time for Pat Long the Attorney to give his summation to a sympathetic jury, prominent Democrats who believe he will be the next alderman from Ward 7. His pitch was simple and direct.
“One last thing,” he said. “I want to remind you that tomorrow is my birthday, so if you didn’t buy me a present, make sure you donate to the campaign tonight.”
Community Voices is a place for news stories written by contributors who are readers of the Ink Link, as part of our focus on building community. To learn more contact Carol Robidoux at email@example.com.