Voters Guide 2019: Ward 7 Candidates

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Ward 7

Alderman

Brenda Noiseux, 41, is a small business owner.

Click here to see her campaign site.

What qualifies you to hold this office? 
My professional career has been focused on long-term planning, strategic thinking and stakeholder engagement; skills I think are relevant and needed for the Board of Alderman. I also have a background in technology, have been a judge in the city and state water science fairs, and currently, I serve on the city’s Conservation Commission.
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’ll start monthly meetings in Ward 7 where people can come hear what’s going on at City Hall, ask questions, share concerns, get to know their neighbors and brainstorm ideas, like improving sidewalks especially near senior housing or updating our parks for the enjoyment of all our residents.
Identify the biggest economic opportunities/challenges for the city and provide at least one initiative you would propose to improve economic development.
Manchester’s attention to the arts and culture offers opportunities for economic growth. Arts and culture improvements are not only good for residents, but the city’s prime spot off of 293 and 93 could attract northbound tourists as well. For example, when people come to see a show at the arena or the Palace, they’re more likely to enjoy dinner, dessert or take in some shopping before the show. I’m happy to see investment in areas like the Currier Museum’s summer block party, The Rex music venue downtown and the small galleries downtown, but I’d love to see more at all levels, from large venues to small art spaces to support for local artists.
A large company is planning to move to Manchester, what would be your top three selling points?
I believe Manchester offers several attractive features for large companies, the top three being location, access to an educated workforce and a city brimming with potential. Manchester’s location makes it attractive for both employers and employees. With our airport and easy access to Boston, it makes travel to other company offices in other cities efficient. Manchester also hosts several colleges and universities (UNH Manchester, Southern NH University, Manchester Community College), making it a great choice for finding an educated workforce. Manchester is also brimming with potential. In addition to city amenities most of us take for granted like trash and recycling pick up, connected water and sewer, and bus services, folks have been hard at work making a vibrant downtown with fantastic restaurants, music and theater venues, an independent bookstore, and so much more.
What is the single-most important step we as a city can take to move the needle on homelessness?
We need to realize that it’s one piece of a complicated puzzle of public safety issues our city is facing right now. Homelessness includes those who are going to work or school and then are sleeping in their cars or are constantly “couch surfing.” And the reasons for being homeless as just as varied. I’ve found that many people equate homelessness with the panhandlers they see, but panhandling doesn’t equal homeless. I’m grateful to the work that the city’s Task Force on Homelessness has done in understanding the issues. Changing public understanding is an important part of the solution as well as the data to enact changes to our city budget and demand that other towns and the state pay for utilizing our resources.
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?
I definitely do. We live in a city once powered by our river. Vetting renewable energy options should be at the top of our minds. It’s also the fiscally responsible thing to do. it is worth looking at all our options, especially if there are opportunities for efficiency and cost savings.

Ross Terrio, 53, earned an associate’s degree in electronics, a bachelor’s in pharmacy, a Juris Doctorate in law, and is a hospital pharmacist at Catholic Medical Center.

His website is http://rossterrio.com/home/.

What qualifies you to hold this office? 

My experience as both a state representative and school board member from Ward 7.

List specific ways you will engage with your ward constituents, including one initiative to improve the quality of life for residents of your ward.

Telephone, text, email, personal website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and in person. I want to turn most of our one-way two-lane roads (including roads with bike lanes) back into two-way roads. This will slow down traffic and ease congestion.
Identify the biggest economic opportunities/challenges for the city and provide at least one initiative you would propose to improve economic development.
We are the poorest city in New Hampshire, with an inadequate tax base to provide for a large population of people who need government services. One method is to identify economic zones in the city that would not be taxed or taxed at a lower rate to attract businesses to locate there.
A large company is planning to move to Manchester, what would be your top three selling points?
Proximity to Boston, Highly educated workforce, Quick access to airport, highways, and bus services.
What is the single-most important step we as a city can take to move the needle on homelessness?
Treat it as a public health crisis that affects everybody in Manchester either directly or indirectly. One thing we should consider is allowing “micro-homes” to deal with both homelessness and the severe lack of affordable apartments for rent to the working poor and middle-class people in our city.
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?
Not at this time. Renewable energy is currently heavily subsidized. Manchester cannot afford this now. We should move in this direction in the future as renewable energy becomes more affordable and less subsidized.

Board of School Committee


Christopher Potter, 29, is Impact Manager for City Year New Hampshire.

Click here to see his website. 

What qualifies you to hold this office? 
Worked in Manchester schools the past four years directly with principals, teachers, and students. My role was to train full-time volunteers to give high-quality instruction in reading, math, and social skills.

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

To get an agreement on a teachers’ contract, I will center the negotiations on what is best for students. Better benefits for teachers support students because they help our district retain its best teachers, yet the district has other important priorities–such as reducing class sizes–that limit our expenditure on the new contract. We can find middle ground when we focus on what is best for students.
The state has sent $20.8M in one-time funding to the city. How would you propose spending that money?
Working in Manchester schools the past four years, I witnessed several urgent needs, especially paraprofessional and substitute teacher vacancies. Filling those positions by offering a competitive wage will improve academic growth and student-to-teacher ratio while reducing disruptive behavior. If enough funds remain, adding social workers is another top priority. At the school where I worked, we had over 30 homeless students and only one social worker. Additional social workers can help students obtain stability at home, so that they are prepared to retain lessons at school. Using the state funds in these ways will help our students develop into solid, productive citizens.
A young family is considering a move to Manchester, what would be your top three selling points?
Manchester is a city on the rise! We have a strong and growing economy, fantastic amenities nearby without traffic, and a beautiful, diverse community. At our schools, students share classes with peers of many ethnic and economic backgrounds–a valuable education many districts can’t offer–and we have hardworking, compassionate teachers who have demonstrated deep commitment to students’ well-being.
What is the most important step the Board of School Committee can take to immediately improve all schools?
Besides filling paraprofessional and substitute teacher vacancies and hiring social workers, the Board of School Committee must support schools focusing on 21st Century education. Today’s best jobs require problem-solving and social skills, whereas the education model of the past prepared students for work in an industrial economy. The Board of School Committee–through hiring, curriculum design, and expanding proven innovations–can make Manchester a leader in 21st Century education, ensuring those high-paying jobs in the Millyard are filled by our own kids.
How can MSD and the community work together to prepare today’s first-graders for a 2032 economy?
See above.

William P. Shea earned a master’s degree in education and a Certificate of Advanced Study ( CAGS) from Boston University. He is currently an Alderman ( 24 years) in Ward 7. Previously he was a teacher for eight years in grades 5-6-7-8 and a school principal (Grades K-8) for 32 years.

What qualifies you to hold this office? 
I have 40 years experience as a teacher for 8 years and a principal for 32 years. I have worked directly with students, teachers, parents, school board members and administrators. In addition to this hands-on experience, over the past 24 years I have worked as an Alderman and during this time I assisted the school district in funding for foreign language programs, preschool programs, helped with the development of MST( Manchester School of Technology ) and funding for school construction and improvements particularly relating to Hallsville School in my ward.
What will you do to get an agreement on a teachers’ contract?
I would work closely with the negotiating team representing the MEA, the School Board Negotiation team and the Supt of Schools in consultation with the Financial Dept of the School district to resolve working conditions and salary issues.
The state has sent $20.8M in one-time funding to the city. How would you propose spending that money?
Money should be added to the five trust funds established by the school district as well as funding for textbooks, library supplies and improvements should be made to the upgrade of technology areas that are needed. Funding should be allocated to Special Education programs which require constant attention and funds should be directed towards finding a permanent site for the preschool children’s facility. And finally, funding should be allotted to ensuring that there are programs for teacher development for teaching skills and technology.
A young family is considering a move to Manchester, what would be your top three selling points?
In Manchester we have classrooms with a low teacher/student ratio with paraprofessional assistance available. Our programs are designed to meet the needs of all learning levels and capacities of all students. The city of Manchester has strong partnerships between parents, students and teachers.
What is the most important step the Board of School Committee can take to immediately improve all schools?

The most important improvement needed at this time is to settle all contractual issues relating to the school district.

How can MSD and the community work together to prepare today’s first-graders for a 2032 economy?
It is vital in our constantly changing world to make sure that the children of today are prepared for tomorrow. We must have them learn and embrace new technologies that can be adapted to their learning levels.