Reactions to mayor’s decision not to seek another term pour in from around NH

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Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig files for re-election on July 19, 2021. Photo/Andrew Sylvia

MANCHESTER, NH – Business leaders, public service professionals, and elected officials from across New Hampshire are sharing their reactions to Mayor Joyce Craig’s announcement that she will not seed a fourth term as Mayor of Manchester.

Federal Officials

U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen:

“From investing in public schools and decreasing violent crime to adding affordable housing stock and supporting small businesses, Joyce Craig’s steadfast leadership has been transformative for the City of Manchester. I saw Joyce’s effective and tireless advocacy first-hand as she led her community through the pandemic and successfully represented local governments in fighting for federal resources to help municipalities weather the COVID crisis. As a life-long Manchester resident, I know Joyce will never stop working on behalf of the Queen City. I am grateful for her public service and wish her all the best in her final term as Mayor of Manchester.”

U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan:

“Joyce Craig is a dedicated and inspiring public servant. Thanks to her leadership, Manchester has seen unprecedented economic growth, in part due to her efforts to secure critical federal funding that has helped turn the Queen City into a hub for technological innovation in biotechnology. Joyce has also led on other critical issues, including combating the substance misuse epidemic, growing theManchester-Boston Regional Airport, and improving the city’s public education system. Regardless of the issue or the challenge, her steady, optimistic, and focused work has helped Granite Staters in every corner of Manchester. I am grateful for her years of service to our state’s largest city and wish her continued success as she moves on to her next chapter.”

Congressman Chris Pappas:

“Mayor Craig has worked tirelessly to move Manchester forward, and I’m grateful for her leadership over the past five years. She has fought to put students first and help them succeed, supported small businesses, and strengthened public safety. Manchester has once again become a technology and industrial hub, creating jobs and attracting world-class businesses doing cutting-edge work in biotechnology, medicine, and more. Mayor Craig has been a collaborative partner with state and federal officials to tackle Manchester’s toughest challenges, and I wish her well as she finishes her term. I join my fellow Manchester residents in thanking her for her dedicated service to our community.

Proud Memorial alumnus Mayor Joyce Craig sporting her vintage cheerleading jacket. Photo/Stacy Harrison

State and Local Elected Leaders

Senator Lou D’Allesandro, Manchester:

“The city of Manchester owes a debt of gratitude to Joyce Craig. Her tremendous work ethic has brought unprecedented success to our community. Under Joyce’s tenure our public schools have received unparalleled support, the rate of violent crime has decreased, and economic development is at an all-time high. Pat and I can’t wait to see what Mayor Craig does next to make a difference for our great city.”

Representative Matt Wilhelm, New Hampshire House Minority Leader, Manchester:

“I want to thank Mayor Craig for her service to the City of Manchester. She has been a strong advocate at the State House on behalf of our community and residents, from pushing for more funding for public education to defending a woman’s right to choose. We have been lucky to have Mayor Craig at City Hall these last five years.”

Representative Patty Cornell, Manchester Ward 11:

“Joyce’s love for Manchester is clear in everything she has done as Mayor. She has been a great partner to Manchester’s State House delegation and a forceful advocate for the city. Joyce made Manchester schools a priority and made much needed changes to improve student achievement in city schools.”

Kevin Cavanaugh, Manchester Alderman, Ward 1:

“I’ve known Joyce since we were kids and went to Memorial High School together. We both chose to stay and raise our families here and what has always been clear is that she loves Manchester. It was never a surprise to me that she would dedicate herself to public service to make our city stronger. Manchester is in a better place because of Joyce’s leadership.”

June Trisciani, Manchester Alderwoman-At-Large:

“I am incredibly thankful for Mayor Joyce Craig’s leadership in Manchester. As mayor, she has been able to get Manchester back on track, spurring economic development, decreasing crime, and bringing people together to address our challenges. She is a strong leader who always puts  Manchester first. I look forward to working alongside Mayor Craig as we continue to move Manchester forward and build on the progress she has made as mayor.”

Will Stewart, Manchester Alderman, Ward 2:

“From leading the city through the pandemic and making historic investments in housing and homelessness initiatives to securing $44 million in Build Back Better federal funds for Manchester-centered BioFabrication Cluster and another $30 million for a federal RAISE grant for transportation infrastructure, Mayor Craig’s commitment to improving the city will be felt for decades to come.”

Jason Bonilla, Manchester School Board Member Ward 5:

 “Being one of the first in anything is never easy. It comes with a great deal of responsibility, pressure, and at the same we cannot forget REPRESENTATION IS POWER! I remember waiting for the announcement of the next Mayor of Manchester, and little did we know history was in the making. We saw a woman WIN, we saw the FIRST woman get elected as the next leader of our city.  Gracias por todo y te deseamos suerte con tu próximo capitulo! ”

Mayor Joyce Craig thanks her supporters at the Puritan Backroom on Nov. 5, 2019. Photo/Andrew Sylvia

Mayors from Across the State

Nashua Mayor Jim Donchess:

“It’s been a pleasure to work with Mayor Craig. I’ve valued the relationship that Nashua and Manchester have built in order to work towards our shared goals. Being the two largest cities in the state, this collaboration is not only important for our residents, but for all Granite Staters. I wish Joyce the best in her future endeavors.”

Berlin Mayor Paul Grenier:

“Although I’m disappointed Mayor Craig is not running for re-election, Joyce has been a champion for all the cities and large towns in New Hampshire. She is a thoughtful leader who helped her community through COVID-19 and has been a leader on addressing complex issues that we all face, such as chronic homelessness. Mayor Craig is a huge advocate for public education and the students in the Manchester School District. That will be her lasting legacy and I hope Joyce looks to serve Manchester and New Hampshire in another vital role in the future.”

Dover Mayor Bob Carrier:

“While I am sad to learn Mayor Craig is not seeking another term, the work she has done and the collaboration she fostered with other mayors across the state has been tremendous. I am so glad that I have had the opportunity to work with Joyce and learn from her leadership. I look forward to seeing what Mayor Craig will do next and know that we will continue to work together in the future.”

Lebanon Mayor Tim McNamara:

“Mayor Craig is a leader among mayors in New Hampshire. She has been instrumental in helping us to collaboratively address problems that impact all of our communities and the State as a whole. I have very much appreciated working with her over the past several years, and hope to again in the future.”

Mayor Joyce Craig at Gill Stadium on Sept. 9, 2019 – photo/Andrew Sylvia

Manchester City Officials

Manchester Police Chief Allen Aldenberg:

“On behalf of the women and men of the Manchester Police Department we extend our gratitude and appreciation to Mayor Joyce Craig for her dedicated service to the City of Manchester. Mayor Craig provided me the opportunity to serve as the Chief of Police, for which I am deeply grateful for. Collectively the City has faced many challenges over the past few years and I can say without reservation that Mayor Craig has remained supportive of the Manchester Police Department. She has taken the time to understand our strengths and limitations.  She has supported all initiatives that the police department has undertaken, from technology initiatives to staffing and perhaps the most important being her support of our Mental Health and Wellness initiatives in support of our employees. We look forward to continuing to work with Mayor Craig over the next nine months and we wish her and her family continued success and happiness.”

Manchester Fire Chief Ryan Cashin:

“Mayor Joyce Craig is the hardest working person in the city. Her dedication and leadership has been inspiring to me personally. I still remember the day that I told my daughters that the city just elected the first female mayor.”

Manchester School District Superintendent Jennifer Gillis:

“On behalf of the Manchester School District, I want to thank Mayor Craig for her unyielding advocacy and commitment to our schools. Through the years and a global pandemic, she has been a constant partner and a relentless cheerleader for our students and staff. Under her leadership, we’ve made great progress in our schools for our students, families and staff. We’ve implemented consistent curricula at all levels and created new pathways to higher-level learning, lowered class sizes, and improved communications. We’ve improved recruitment and retention of staff, implemented our strategic plan, and begun our long-term facilities planning process.”

Mayor Joyce Craig talks infrastructure during a news conference on Nov. 9, 2021, with the NH Delegation in Manchester. Photo/Carol Robidoux

Business and Community Leaders

Dean Kamen, Founder, DEKA and ARMI:

“I’m thankful for the partnership that ARMI and DEKA have built with the City of Manchester under Joyce Craig’s leadership. She was a critical part of our coalition’s successful $44 million Build Back Better Regional Challenge Grant award, and we’re going to continue to see the impacts of her work in the Millyard for decades to come.”

Paul LeBlanc, SNHU President and CEO:

“It has truly been an honor to partner with Mayor Craig on several initiatives to improve the city we both love and call home. Joyce has been a remarkable leader, seeing us through the unchartered waters of a pandemic, driving powerful economic growth and innovation, and all the while working to take care of those among us with the greatest needs. She selflessly works with anyone who is invested in solutions and has provided a much needed antidote to our broken politics. I wish her all the best in her next chapter.”

Glenn Brackett, President New Hampshire AFL-CIO: 

“Today, we learned that Mayor Joyce Craig will not seek reelection in the city of Manchester. Under her leadership, the city has grown, its residents have prospered, and its workers have always had an ally in the corner office. If you are a union member in the Queen City, you know how hard the Mayor has worked to protect your job and the livelihood of your family. From making sure that the best and most qualified workers were put to work, to securing millions of dollars in federal grants for the city and its future, Manchester working families have been lucky to have her at the helm. She is a strong and thoughtful leader that listens. The Mayor’s office was always open and extremely helpful to the New Hampshire AFL-CIO. She made herself available to organized labor whenever we called.

Mayor Craig comes from an IBEW family, which means that she is family. She understands the importance of collective bargaining, and how it can change lives, worksites, and cities. Although I am sad to hear that she won’t be in charge in Manchester, I am excited to see what is next for her. I am sure that whatever she chooses to do, she will bring organized labor with her.”

Deo Mwano, CEO of DMC and New Hampshire Community Advocate:

“I want to congratulate Mayor Joyce Craig for her hard work on behalf of the City of Manchester over the past 5 and half years. I have had the pleasure of partnering with the Mayor on several projects during her tenure. I am particularly proud of our work on the ARPA Small Business Grant Program. The program was established in 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when small businesses were struggling to keep their doors open. Now, over $1.2 million has been distributed to over 120 businesses in Manchester through this program, and over 45 percent of the recipients were BIPOC businesses and over 55 percent were woman owned. When the businesses in Manchester needed the City’s support, Mayor Joyce Craig rolled up her sleeves and brought different people together to develop a plan that distributed the resources equitably, representing the vast diversity in Manchester. Her inclusive solutions ensured as many businesses stayed afloat as possible. I want to extend my gratitude to Mayor Joyce Craig for her hard work over the years, managing through very difficult times.”

Joanne Conroy, President and CEO of Dartmouth Health:

“Joyce Craig has been an exceptional leader for Manchester and the state during an incredibly turbulent time for the country. Her calm leadership and her relentless focus on the health and welfare of our citizens has been an inspiration.”

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Office of Mayor Joyce Craig