MANCHESTER, NH – Tim Baines has decided not to run for reelection as Ward 3 Alderman, a decision that’s not come easily. But after much thought over the past six weeks, and a recent development in his business – Baines bought out his long-time business partner and took full ownership of Mint Bistro – he’s going to take a break from elected office.
He says he will exit with no regrets.
“At the end of the day, come January, I’d like to be able to devote even more of my time and energy to my business,” Baines said Saturday. He feels fortunate that his business has continued to prosper over the past seven years, and adds that it has had to take a backseat to constituent demands.
After much wrestling and deep thought, Baines has quietly been informing close friends and family of his decision.
“And I wanted to get my intentions out there publicly in plenty of time for any potential candidate who might want to mount a campaign for Ward 3,” adds Baines.
To that end, Baines said he decided to reach out to former Ward 3 Alderman Pat Long on Friday, to give him the heads up. The two ran a close race in 2017 which ended in a recount, with Baines edging Long by six votes.
On Saturday, Long said he was not completely surprised at the news, but it solidified his own intention to run again for Ward 3 Alderman.
“I wasn’t surprised in that I did the job for four years while working full time. It’s absolutely nuts. Although I was in a slightly different situation than Tim, I know what it takes to serve constituents – and obviously, Tim did it right, because it’s a consuming thing,” Long said.
Baines, who describes himself politically as an independent, said he is definitely open to seeking higher office in the future, but for right now he’s looking forward to getting back to the restaurant business once this term expires.
“There’s still a lot of work to be done, and I’m going to continue to take the job of Ward 3 Alderman seriously right up until my last day. It’s a full-time commitment, and it’s taken precedence over everything else. I haven’t been away from Manchester since I started campaigning two years ago,” Baines says.
Once he hangs up his aldermanic hat, that doesn’t mean he’s bowing out of public discourse. Over the past 18 months Baines has worked to shine a light on the unique needs of the downtown business community, and was vocal about the need for policy decisions from City Hall that acknowledge and address the economic reality current social challenges create for those whose livelihood depend on the health and wellbeing of the downtown.
“I will absolutely continue to be a voice for the downtown. When I was campaigning for this office, I did it because I felt there were significant voices not being heard at City Hall, and I think those voices are being heard now,” Baines says. The downtown had a champion in me, and that’s not going to end.”
In reflecting on being a one-term alderman, Baines said he believes his contributions to the city have been valuable, and that there is something to be said for getting new representatives into the chambers.
“I think I can speak for myself, along with my fellow aldermen Will Stewart, John Cataldo and Elizabeth Moreau [all first-time aldermen in 2018] that the collective group of us brought a different perspective to the board. And I think if you were to ask some of the veteran aldermen, like Chairman O’Neil and others, they’ve shared publicly and privately that it’s been positive to have some younger, newer voices in the mix as part of the conversation about our city,” Baines says.
So far of the four, Cataldo has also decided against running for reelection. Stewart recently launched his reelection campaign, and Moreau has yet to announce.
Baines says he doesn’t feel public service, or being a politician, should become a career.
“It’s good to have people step up when the time is right, maybe offer a voice in the debate at City Hall, or add dialogue that’s new and different, and then there’s nothing wrong with stepping back into the private sector in whatever capacity,” Baines says.
It’s something he’s thought about, as the son of a former mayor, and Baines is quick to respond when asked if he would ever consider following in his father’s footsteps.
“I would definitely not rule it out,” says Baines. “If I ever believed I was in the right position and offered a voice that would better our community and move it in another or better direction, if I thought I was the person who could bring about positive change and bring people together, I certainly could see myself being a candidate for higher office in the future – although nobody can see the future.”
Does that mean he aspires to state or national politics?
“Never, nope. I’d never have any interest in serving in any capacity of elected office outside Manchester,” Baines says. “The city of Manchester is where I grew up, it’s what I love and as far as any future plans for elected office, I would never, ever run outside of Manchester.”
Below is a statement released May 4 by Alderman Tim Baines:
I am grateful for the opportunity that the voters of Ward 3 gave to me in allowing me to serve the community that I love so much. Being elected to be the residents advocate for them at City Hall is something that I will always be grateful for.
Last month, I had the opportunity to buy out my business partner and obtain full ownership of Mint Bistro, a restaurant that I am incredibly proud of. I’m thankful everyday for the amazing team that I work with and our involvement in the community.
With that said, I will not be a candidate for any office in the upcoming municipal election. My love for Manchester and ward 3 in particular has never been stronger and I will continue my involvement in the community.
I look forward to remaining active and engaged.
Manchester is a special place and as a life long resident can say that there is no place that I would rather be. Nobody knows what the future holds, however I can assure you that I will continue to be engaged and look forward to serving again in the near future.
There is no doubt that Manchester’s best days are still to come.