Voters Guide 2019: Ward 4 Candidates

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Ward 4


Alderman

Chris Herbert (incumbent), 70, was a business owner, journalist, Merrill Lynch financial consultant, and school board member for 12 years.

List specific ways you will engage with your ward constituents, including one initiative to improve the quality of life for residents of your ward.
I will fund the department budgets. These are the funds that provide the city services. As far as improvements, I support expanding sidewalks, adding police manpower, and investigating how to best expand affordable housing.
Identify the biggest economic opportunities/challenges for the city and provide at least one initiative you would propose to improve economic development.
Again, funding city services is the primary responsibility of the Alderman. So credible funding of department budgets, by definition, is the basic requirement of Aldermen. As for initiatives, I think expanding affordable housing is an initiative that needs solutions.
A large company is planning to move to Manchester, what would be your top three selling points?
The largest industry in Manchester is the university systems. They contribute more than $2.5 billion to the greater-Manchester economy. If you are looking for educated people, Manchester is by far the best city to consider for your business. The city has a vibrant entertainment industry, and a beautiful park system too.
What is the single-most important step we as a city can take to move the needle on homelessness?
Jobs. The city will have to find the funds to provide jobs. It would be nice if the state, and Congress, would help fund these jobs, but putting people to work at a living wage is the first job to do, in my opinion.
Concord NH this year established an Energy and Environment Committee which has drafted a strategic plan to have Concord get all of its energy from renewable sources by 2050. Is this something you feel Manchester should consider? Why or why not?
That’s a great idea and yes, I’d support the goal for Manchester.

Jim Roy, is a former alderman and retired Manchester firefighter (did not respond to candidate questionnaire.)


Board of School Committee

Mark J. Flanders, 63, is a claims manager at Concord Group Insurance Company.

What qualifies you for this position?
My background is in business. As an insurance manager I am responsible for a multimillion-dollar budget, negotiating contracts, directing litigation and working with multiple state and federal regulatory agencies. I believe my life and work experience will add a different point of view and add an independent voice to the school board.
What will you do to get an agreement on a teachers’ contract?
The teachers are the backbone of our school system. They deserve a fair and reasonable contract immediately. I would strongly advocate for the teachers to reach a contract agreement.
The state has sent $20.8M in one-time funding to the city. How would you propose spending that money?
In answering the question as a school board candidate; the roughly $15 million dollars to be received by the schools is one-time funding. It should not used for operating expenses such as salaries or pay increases.This much-needed money will help with our school funding issues and should be used to improve our school system. The money must be used to benefit our students and the quality of their education. I would allocate the funding for capital improvements to buildings, to add curriculum, security upgrades, more text books, upgrades to technology, supplies, reserves and to finally fully fund the arts programs throughout the school system.
A young family is considering a move to Manchester, what would be your top three selling points?
The top three selling points are: Quality of life, diversity and opportunity.
What is the most important step the Board of School Committee can take to immediately improve all schools?
The most important step to immediately improve all schools is to address our lack of funding problem. We must increase resources and funding by engaging some in the business community, both private and non-profit. They must take responsibility for the profits and benefits they have received for a long time from Manchester and give back. What is meant by give back is in the form of money. We don’t need unelected focus groups telling us how to run our schools and the budget. We need real money and let the school board and school district determine how it is spent.
How can MSD and the community work together to prepare today’s first-graders for a 2032 economy?
MSD must adjust to the needs and educational requirements of the 21st century. MSD has to adapt to the changing times to appropriately educate and prepare our first-graders for the economic future. Our school system must be committed to accepting help from the business community in the form of resources, apprenticeships and mentoring. The many non-profit colleges, medical institutions and others in the city need to partner with our school system in a more significant way. Lastly, we need more parental engagement and buy-in to the school system. The only way for this to be accomplished is to provide our students with a quality and diverse education.

Leslie Want (incumbent), 57, earned an MFA from Massachusetts College of Arts and works as a business manager and school/community volunteer.

Click here to see her web page.

What will you do to get an agreement on a teachers’ contract?

I look forward to supporting a contract for all six bargaining units that will help teachers, principals, paras and others receive the compensation they deserve and hope that in return we can achieve some gains that will benefit our students.
The state has sent $20.8M in one-time funding to the city. How would you propose spending that money?
I think this one-time money (over two years) should be spent on one-time expenditures. I would support the superintendent’s recommendation to adopt a city-wide reading program. I would also like to see the renovations made to the middle schools on the east side so we can do what we did for the west side this year and move the 5th graders up allowing us to reduce class sizes in the lower grades and expand offerings for our middle and high school learners.
A young family is considering a move to Manchester, what would be your top three selling points?
First and foremost, our city is on the verge of major transformational change in so many positive aspects; a booming tech industry, community collaboration with our schools and there is an exciting city life with a small town close-knit community feel. Second, in our public schools I believe our teachers and other staff are second to none. They are dedicated, hardworking and love our kids! Finally, our district has students from many diverse backgrounds that reflect society as a whole in all the best ways possible! What better place to raise and prepare your children for the world ahead?
What is the most important step the Board of School Committee can take to immediately improve all schools.
I believe we need to reduce class sizes to ensure all students are able to receive the attention they need to succeed.
How can MSD and the community work together to prepare today’s first-graders for a 2032 economy?
We are extremely fortunate to have a group of individuals in our community called Manchester Proud who are committed to helping the city School District work with the community to help the Board adopt a Long Range Strategic Plan that is both transformational and achievable. We are at critical crossroad in Manchester and I look forward to supporting this work!