MANCHESTER, N.H. – The candidacy filing period has officially begun for the Manchester 2021 Municipal Election and there was plenty of activity at City Hall on Monday. Here is an update of what went down along with any other recent news from the mayoral race, the Aldermanic races and the Board of School Committee races.
Former NH House Assistant Majority Leader and 2019 mayoral runner-up Victoria Sullivan officially filed the paperwork her candidacy in front of a group of supporters at City Hall.
While Monday may have been the first “official” day of her campaign, she has been campaigning for months and appeared positive after filing.
“It feels like the momentum we had from last time picked up even more. Since the day we announced that we would be running, we’ve been getting a lot of support,” said Sullivan. “We’ve been going to events, fundraising, doing everything we need to do to win. But the biggest thing is that we’re hearing from people that gave (Mayor) Joyce (Craig) a chance last time and saw what she did and are now ready for change in the city. We’re ready to bring change to Manchester and put the city on the right path and bring better days for everybody.”
Former At-Large Alderman and Board of School Committee Member Rich Girard also released a pair of press release on Friday.
In the first, Girard filed a right-to-know request asking for materials related to the “white privilege training” that led Northwest Elementary School 21st Century Program Coordinator Dan Concannon to resign.
Girard initially asked for the materials in June and says he received no response.
In the second, he welcomed the recent move by the Manchester Board of Mayor and Aldermen (BMA) proposing charter amendments that would grant autonomy to the Manchester School District (MSD) because it will draw more attention to what he sees as inefficient and out-of-touch fiscal policies from the MSD and lure more people to policies he believes will improve education in Manchester such as providing more school choice to parents.
“For years, unions, bureaucrats and board members have all complained that all they need is more money to make things better,” said Girard. “Believing they won’t blow the tax cap is like believing a 16-year-old won’t blow the speed limit while driving a sports car. The taxpayers of this city know that and I’m convinced they’ll turn out to vote it down and elect me mayor because I have proven both during my time on the school board and as candidate for mayor that our schools can be fixed without soaking the taxpayers again and leaving them nothing to show for it.”
In the Alderman At-Large race, three candidates filed on Monday, bringing the number of announced candidates to five so far for the two available seats this fall.
Anthony Harris and Planning Board Vice Chairman June Trisiciani and former Ward 6 Alderman Elizabeth Moreau in very separate approaches.
Moreau filed early along with Ward 7 Alderman Ross Terrio, Ward 9 Aldermanic Candidate and 2020 State Representative Candidate Robert Kliskey and Ward 6 Alderman Sebastian Sharonov as a loosely affiliated coalition of mutually endorsed candidates.
Moreau said that she also expects to work with incumbent Alderman Jim Roy in Ward 4, but doesn’t expect any alliances with fellow At-Large candidates just yet.
“While I will be working with other candidates I’ve endorsed, I will be doing a lot on my own also because before the primary it’s more of a free-for-all for the voters to get to know the candidates individually,” she said. “After the primary, we’ll see what happens.”
Harris filed alongside Ward 4 Aldermanic Candidate and State Representative Nicole Klein-Knight.
“I’m excited about this race,” said Harris. “I have a beautiful vision for Manchester. I’ve been with the community so long and I’ve heard changes they want to see and there are plenty of changes I want to see. Talking about things without action is complaining, so we’re going to stop complaining and get out there and do something about it.”
Trisciani did not file with any other candidates, but has talking with plenty of voters in recent weeks, submitting 194 signed petitions as she filed while most of Monday’s candidates skipped submitting petitions, which waives filing fee requirements.
In a video statement released later in the day, Trisiciani pledged to work collaboratively and listen to voter concerns in addressing the city’s problems.
“I think everyone I’ve spoken to in Manchester is ready for some changes around the table to help promote Manchester. It’s a great city and I’m ready to help make things happen,” said Trisciani. “The tone of our campaign is entirely positive. We’re running to make things better, and we’re working to get rid of the fighting and the negativity.”
Former Manchester Fire Department Chief Dan Goonan has also announced that he will run and incumbent Dan O’Neil has also told Manchester Ink Link that he will run.
In addition to the “Moreau Coalition” and Harris and Klein-Knight’s dual filing, the day held other multi-level joint filings.
Early in the day, Christine Fajardo and incumbent Leslie Want filed together for Ward 4’s Aldermanic and Board of School Committee seats, respectively.
A resident of the Hanover Hill neighborhood, Fajardo has volunteered for political causes in the past and has served as a ballot inspector in Ward 4 after moving to Manchester in 2017 from Philadelphia and Maine before that. However, she’s never run for political office until this point.
However, she believes that lack of experience along with work for two Fortune 500 companies over the past 20 years will give her a fresh perspective if she can obtain victory this fall.
“My role as an Alderwoman will be to amplify the voices of Ward 4 constituents and build common ground with my fellow board members in order to drive progress for Manchester,” she said. “My goal is to make our government more user-friendly and I will work hard to solve real day-to-day problems for residents.
A team from Ward 10, including incumbent Alderman Bill Barry, Board of School Committee candidate Gary Hamer and several candidates for various poll-related positions, also filed at the same time in a show of solidarity.
“It’s a good day for Ward 10, we’ve got a great group of people who have been working for years,” said Barry. “This will be my fifth time running. I am looking forward to it and hopefully getting elected again. It’s all about working for your constituents and getting things done and I hope I have the chance to do it again.”
In addition to the already contested Aldermanic race in Ward 4, Monday saw two candidates sign up for the Ward 11 race as well. Incumbent Normand Gamache will seek his third full term and Andre Rosa will return to challenge for the seat.
In other races, Ward 3 incumbent Pat Long and Ward 12 challenger Erin Kelly also filed today. According to Klein-Knight, Long also endorsed her in the Ward 4 race.
Board of School Committee
In addition to Want, the Board of School Committee’s current vice chair, and Hamer, Monday also saw several filings for the Board of School Committee.
Peter Ageropoulos filed his candidacy to run for one of the two At-Large seats on the board, the only person to do so on Monday.
Ageropoulos says he aims to focus on the concerns of voters and students while also giving back to the school district that helped educate him during his youth in Manchester.
“While I know that earning the trust of voters will be difficult, I cannot wait for the chance to work alongside the residents of Manchester to push our schools and our community forward,” he said.
Ward 9 incumbent Ben Dion, who was appointed to take over for Arthur Beaudry earlier this year, filed to seek his first full term on the board.
“I think I bring perspective as a former teacher that some other Board members don’t have seeing from inside the schools,” said Dion. “I’m looking forward to talking with more people from Ward 9 and seeing what their concerns are, but the biggest concern should always be the students.”
In Ward 11, Brittany LeClair-Ping declared her candidacy shortly after the Moreau group filed.
“I think Manchester is ready for a change,” she said. “We’ve seen what having independent or Republican members in the Aldermanic chamber means for representing Manchester’s population and I really excited to see that continue as Republican candidates file for school committee and continue to build up the bench.”
In other Board of School Committee races, Monday saw the filing of Sean Parr in Ward 2 and Kenneth Roy in Ward 12. Recently, Roy submitted his resume to become an interim Board of School Committee member following the resignation of Kelly Thomas.
A full list of Monday’s filings from the City Clerk’s office with additional information on the candidates can be found here.