Voters Guide: 5 Candidates on the ballot for May 12 Ward 5 Special Election

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MANCHESTER, NH – March 13 marked the close of the special filing period for any Ward 5 resident interested in becoming a candidate for the office of Alderman. Five candidates signed up and will appear on the May 12, 2015 Special Election ballot with the top vote getter to be sworn in to complete to remainder of the unexpired term for alderman, left vacant by the passing of Alderman Ed Osborne.

The special election for Ward 5 residents only will be held at Beech Street School, 333 Beech St., between the hours of 6 a.m. and 7 p.m.

We asked each candidate to answer the same questions. Their answers follow:

Tony Sapienza
Tony Sapienza

Tony Sapienza

Tony Sapienza, 54, has lived in Manchester his whole life. He has been happily married for 32 years and has four adult children.

He has worked as an electrician at PSNH for 29 years. He enjoys taking evening walks with his wife through Ward 5, and heading downtown for activities whenever possible.


Q. What is the most pressing issue Ward 5 residents face?

The most pressing issue Ward 5 residents face is funding the needs of city schools, and all city departments, while respecting the voter-approved tax cap.

Q. Why should voters select you to represent them?

Voters should select me to represent them because I will be accessible to all Ward 5 residents. Constituent service is my No. 1 priority. I will return every phone call I receive from any Ward 5 resident. If a resident of Ward 5 brings me an issue or concern, I will address it in a timely manner.

Q. Why are you running for Ward 5 Alderman? 

The reason I am running for the position of Ward 5 alderman is that Ward 5 has a strong tradition of an active alderman who made sure city government did not neglect Ward 5. I want to continue that tradition and keep Ward 5 needs front and center.

I believe the squeaky wheel gets the grease, and a hard-working alderman is essential to keep city departments focused on the needs of Ward 5.

City government is big and its easy to fall through the cracks. I want to make sure Ward 5 gets its fair share of scarce city resources.

Ted Rokas
Ted Rokas

Ted Rokas

Ted Rokas was born and raised in Manchester. He attended Beech Street Elementary School, Hillside Middle School and Central High School, and received his bachelor’s degree in business from the University of New Hampshire.

Employer: Southern New Hampshire University

Occupation: Business Analyst

Prior elected office:  Serving a fourth term as State Representative and a second term as School Board member, Ward 5.


Q. What is the most pressing issue Ward 5 residents face?

There are several issues that Ward 5 residents face, however I believe that keeping our neighborhoods safe is by far one of the more pressing issues that the ward is currently facing.

Q. Why should voters select you to represent them?

I will work hard for the residents of Ward 5. I will always stand up for working families and fight to keep our neighborhoods safe.

Q. Why are you running for Ward 5 Alderman? 

I am running for Alderman in Ward 5 so that I can be a strong voice and strong advocate for the residents in my Ward.


 

Rick Olson Jr.
Rick Olson Jr.

Richard H. Olson Jr.

Richard Olson, 50, has lived in Manchester since 1997 following his service in the USMC. He serves as President of the New Hampshire Wildlife Federation, and is President of the Londonderry Fish & Game Club. He is married and has three children and four grandchildren. His youngest daughter is 17 and still lives at home. He is a gunsmith by trade as well as a certified firearms instructor.

His hobbies include hunting, fishing, trapping and camping. He volunteers for NH Fish & Game, teaching hunter education.


Q. What is the most pressing issue Ward 5 residents face?

Housing, crime and poverty. With limited budgets in city services we need to do a better job reaching out to non-governmental agencies who can assist with health care, housing, nutrition and childcare. While Ward 5 has become more transient in the last 20 years, housing issues, crime and poverty deeply plague the ward.

Q. Why should voters select you to represent them?

I am deeply rooted in this ward. My father was born here in the ward in 1941. In fact, he resided on the same street as I do. He was a grade school classmate of the late Ed Osborne. I have spent the last 10 years of my life overseeing two non-profit agencies and a key component of making those organizations work is the ability to enlist people to give of their time and talents for the assistance of others. Ed Osborne completely got it right with his proactive constituent services and that level of interaction within the ward needs to continue.

Q. Why are you running for Ward 5 Alderman?

I am running for alderman because I am invested in the community in which I live. After service in the USMC, I purchased my home here and raised my family here. Ward 5 is a greatly diverse ward. In addition to the problems that plague the ward, Ward 5 is also home to one of the State’s largest employers, Elliot Hospital, as well as other employers of considerable size. One concern I have is the fact that over the last 15 years residents have seen a regular annual increase in property tax payments, yet we are still seeing declining school results. Budgets are important and it is important that we not only look to fiscal policy to solve problems, but also within the community from non-governmental organizations to assist in some meaningful way to alleviate problems.


Tim O'Flaherty
Tim O’Flaherty

Tim O’Flaherty

Tim O’Flaherty was born in Reading, Pa., and has lived in New Hampshire since 2009. He works as a carpenter and security guard, and served as Manchester’s Ward 5 State Representative from 2013 -2014. He is Research Director for the New Hampshire Liberty Alliance, which lobbies the State House for more personal and economic liberty.


Q. What is the most pressing issue Ward 5 residents face?

I believe the most pressing issues that Ward 5 residents face are finding affordable housing and well-paying jobs. These are the issues that I struggle with, and I’m sure most of my neighbors would say the same thing.  Issues like crime and drug abuse are subsidiary problems and directly related to the failed policies of the war on drugs. City Hall is good at thinking of ways to regulate landlords. Beside taxes, these regulations, –though well intentioned – drive the cost of housing up.  Keeping taxes low and fostering a favorable climate for business is the best thing the city can do to help residents find better employment.

Q. Why should voters select you to represent them?

I would represent all the people of Ward 5, and not just the hundred or so people who will come to vote in a special election. There are many disenfranchised citizens in my ward. I’d like to make City Hall assessable to everyone, accountable and transparent. Also, my attendance record as a State Representative shows that I’m committed to being present to fulfill the obligations of the job.

Q. Why are you running for Ward 5 Alderman?

Mostly, I’m running to have a dialogue with my neighbors about what role the city government should have in our lives. I believe City Hall needs to be reminded that protection of our liberties should never be secondary to whatever the problem of the day is. For example, we suffer from state and federal laws that create a drug problem. Our response shouldn’t be to shut down businesses and close public parks as was done in response to several “spice” related illnesses. Also, police resources shouldn’t be wasted on enforcing prohibitions on marijuana possession and conducting prostitution stings.

The response of City Hall to innovative businesses is to find ways to make them conform to regulations as with the arrival of Uber in Manchester. We should be thinking of ways to encourage innovation, and foster the creation of new businesses instead.   We should try to mitigate problems of poverty and crime by trusting in liberty and not by relying on police power and expanded regulation.


Cheryl Mitchell

Cheryl Mitchell
Cheryl Mitchell

Cheryl Mitchell, 60, has lived in Ward 5 since she was 11 years old.  She resides with her husband and two of her three children, ages 42, 40, and 35, at the corner of Lake Avenue and Lincoln Street. She has 9 grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild (and one grandson who died at age 12).

She works full time at Walgreens in Bedford. She has four rescue dogs, and does what she can to help rescues in Manchester.  She is a big believer in recycling and helping those less fortunate.


Q. What is the most pressing issue Ward 5 residents face?

Furniture and trash that’s left out in alleys for months and no one seems accountable. No. 2 is dog poop. Yep, it’s everywhere.  I have a way of approaching  people kindly. I say  see you forgot a bag and give them one. However, I find it on my lawn almost every day and can’t catch the owner.  Hey let’s face it:  We all have to go, but where, is question.  Oh. what do we do!

Schools need a helping hand also. Their books are outdated, there are too many students to a  classroom. Drugs and homelessness are issues also that need to be addressed. We need preteen and teen centers for kids. The schools say they are community centers but they are not. You have to pay to use it. That’s not fair; we need programs for those kids to walk in, relax and get assistance for their needs – or any neighborhood person.

Q. Why should voters select you to represent them?

Voters should vote for me because I listen and will get action.  I have been approached by many people with problems and I keep in touch with those who need me until the problem is solved or done to the best of my ability.  I will do my best to help in whatever is asked of me.

I started a watch group right after Michael Briggs got shot  in my yard. That was eight years ago. The group for the last seven years evolved into a non-profit.  We have six wonderful staff members and 120 members.  We do things such  as paint murals on garages to cut down on nasty graffiti, we do alley clean ups,  we have a gathering in the summer and at Christmas. We hold a memorial every year for Michael and our newsletter is dedicated to him and his family We do this all for free or a small donation, if someone can.  We’ve worked with kids and adults who have been on probation or have had community service. The Boys and Girls Club helps every year, and any child or adult that would like to help. We also have a web site and send newsletters out to members every two months.  Our group is eagleeyes1.org.

Q. Why should voters select you to represent them?

I was close with Mr. and Mrs. Osborne.  He was my hero in ways.  He got things done. I want to be able to serve the folks in my community and listen to what they have to say not just give my personal opinion. Everyone counts.


Absentee and Sample Ballots Now Available

Absentee and sample ballots for the Special Non-Partisan Municipal Election in Ward 5 on May 12, 2015, are now available by visiting the city’s Sample Ballots page or by request from the City Clerk’s Office during normal business hours.

The May 12th special election for Ward 5 residents only will serve to elect the top vote getter to complete the unexpired term in the office of alderman.

For additional election information, you may visit the Voter Registration and Elections page or call at 624-6455.


 

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About Carol Robidoux 5454 Articles
Journalist and editor of ManchesterInkLink.com, a hyperlocal news and information site for Manchester, NH.