Save lives: #VoteBurkush

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Stand up. Speak up. It’s your turn.

My name is Dam Wright and I wanted to share my thoughts about the upcoming election in Ward-9.

I’ve become increasingly active in local politics (like it or not), focused primarily on homelessness outreach and advocacy. I used to work at the local homeless shelters, and since then I have been volunteering with a variety of local groups which work to facilitate better relations between the housed and the unhoused within the city of Manchester. As such, I have become a bit of an ambassador between my friends within the homeless community and the local officials who are trying to cope with the problem of homelessness within our city, as well as with the various groups who help to keep our unhoused neighbors alive.

Since this election is likely to have a huge impact upon the local homeless community, as well as the rest of the city residents who are affected by homelessness in Manchester in their own ways, I was asked to share my perspective publicly.

On the one hand, we have Jim Burkush. I don’t know him personally. I haven’t had the pleasure. What I can say is that I’ve been watching his campaign very closely. I have been talking to many people who do know him personally, and who have nothing but wonderful things to say about him. He seems to be a man of honor. He seems to be a humble civil servant, trying to do what he can to make this city better. He clearly isn’t pushing any personal or political agenda. He isn’t pretending to have all the answers. He just wants to help with the knowledge he has, and to continue to learn new ways that he can help in the future. He has an open mind and a big heart. He is someone who doesn’t grandstand, or pose, or use people for his own personal advancement. He doesn’t attack people, or “go negative”, even when the people disagreeing with him might deserve it. He is calm and collected, thoughtful and caring.

I also know him by his reputation. Jim Burkush is a legitimate American hero. How many lives did he save as a firefighter in this city? How many more did he save after he rose through the ranks to become the leader of the largest emergency response department in our entire state? In a world where some might argue about whether police are serving the greater good, we all seem to still agree that firefighters are undeniably heroes. They risk themselves to save our families, our friends, our pets, and even our heirlooms. As someone who does outreach with our local homeless community, I have seen firsthand how common it is for our local firefighters to save the lives of my friends. So if you ask me who I trust to put the lives of the people of this city above all else, regardless of politics, and whether they’re housed or unhoused, then that trust is very deservedly placed into the hands of Jim Burkush.

And then we have “the other candidate.” Oh Vicky…

What can I say about you that isn’t already known? What can I say that might get the people who are in lock-step with your political agenda to reconsider their votes?

I don’t know Vicky personally either. But we have had some exchanges online. And as I said, I have been watching these campaigns very closely. Just as I watched her campaign for Mayor, when she tried to use every dirty trick in the book to smear her opponent, including her insincere attempts to try to appear sympathetic to my friends in the homeless community. All she wanted was to exploit the problem, as something to blame on her incumbent opponent. All while offering no actual help or realistic solutions to help the people who are continuing to suffer and die on the streets of Manchester.

When I called her out on this, she immediately began to attack me for it. She claimed that I was just being a “misogynist” for disagreeing with a female candidate, even though her actions were clearly objectionable no matter her gender. I’m told this is her go-to move whenever any man calls her actions or beliefs into question. She then went on in other postings and comments with even more bogus accusations. Frankly, they were so absurdly ridiculous, petty, and nonsensical that they’re not even worth dignifying with descriptions here.

Vicky has very much shown herself to be a petty, shallow, insincere, politically and personally motivated wannabe. She only cares about herself, her image, and her party. She is running in this election on the basis that she claims to know better about what this city needs than our former fire chief, and that she will do better at putting the lives of our citizens first than someone who has actually saved those lives by risking his own so many times. Whatever your party, whatever your beliefs, I hope you can see that our city deserves better than this, and it deserves better than her.

This is why I am throwing my full support behind Jim Burkush for alderman of Ward 9. And I am encouraging everyone else to do the same.

If you’re someone who is worried about the problem of homelessness in this city, then please support the only candidate who might be willing to back realistic solutions which work for everyone, regardless of the interests of their party or their friends.

If you are a member of our local homeless community, or a supporter, then please support the only person in this election who might sincerely care about the lives of our friends.

With Jim Burkush we can move forward toward better things in this city, for the housed and the unhoused. With Vicky Sullivan, we will only further descend into personal and political nastiness, while everyone suffers.

Please vote Burkush, and vote for a better Manchester, instead of more partisan and personal grandstanding. Vote for sanity, and safety, and sound-mindedness. Vote for yourself and for your neighbors. Vote for someone who cares more about you than about pretending to care about you. Vote like your life depends upon it. Because it does. And so too, very much so, do the lives of my homeless friends.

Vicky is not going to help them, or you. She is only going to help herself, and her friends, and her party. I don’t think that’s what our city is about. Or at least, it shouldn’t be. What kind of person argues that they know better than one of our city’s biggest heroes? And what kind of person are you if you vote for her?

Beg to differ? Agree to disagree? Send submissions to, subject line: The Soapbox or DIY using this link.


About this Author

Dam Wright

"Dam Wright" is an independent consultant for homeless initiatives in Manchester. He specializes in outreach, aid, and advocacy for our local homeless community. Along with other duties, such as event management, educational programs, and the refined management of homeless facilities and public policies regarding homelessness.