MANCHESTER, N.H. – With Ward 6 voters preparing to head to the polls to fill the seat left by former Alderman Elizabeth Moreau, one young man wants to send the message that he will work to communicate with constituents and support taxpayers first and foremost.
Sebastian Sharonov arrived in America from Ukraine eight years ago at the age of 19. Since then, he’s been a combat medic in the U.S. Army and earned a degree in Justice Studies from Southern New Hampshire. Today, he’s self-employed with a focus on photography and videography in real estate. Eventually, he’d like to attend law school, but for now the flexibility of his work has provided him with what he believes is an opportunity to give back to the city and country he loves.
Still a young man, this marks the first time Sharonov has run for public office, but he believes his lack of experience in government is irrelevant. Instead, he sees the key qualification of an alderman as being able to communicate with constituents regardless of their viewpoints and voice their concerns to the city as a whole.
“I think what’s more important is life experience and finding solutions to things at hand, listening to constituents and articulating concerns at city hall.” said Sharonov. “For me, this office is about being a bridge between city hall and Ward 6.”
In response to opponent Scott Britton’s allegations in a story published by Manchester Ink Link earlier this week that recent holders of the Ward 6 Aldermanic seat were not responsive to constituents, Sharonov said he has not heard those concerns from residents of Ward 6, praising Moreau and citing her pair of elections to the seat as evidence that she did a good job.
In terms of the issues he has heard during the course of campaigning from residents, there is not one Ward 6-specific item. However, residents are concerned about the repaving side streets as well as the reduction in yard waste pickup in July and August from every other week to just once a month, as it is now unclear whether the reduced yard waste pickup will save the city $67,000 a year as expected.
Perhaps the largest issue he’s hearing from residents though is the city’s expenditure/revenue cap, better known as the tax cap, citing it as the main reason why he believes the Manchester School District should not be an independent entity.
“If individuals are expected to live within their means, so should city government,” he said. “If city government cannot afford a certain service due to the lack of funds to pay for it, then we just don’t implement the service.”
And while it hasn’t impacted the predominantly suburban Ward 6 as much as other parts of the city, Sharonov believes that homelessness is a key issue for the entire Board of Mayor and Aldermen.
Although he did not cite specific ideas on how to address the issue, he believes that compassion the city’s population should play a role, especially as they face frigid winter temperatures. He also notes that the concerns of residents and business owners need to be taken into account, given that the homeless crisis can impact the attractiveness of the city to outsiders and push businesses toward nearby towns.
Sharonov says that campaigning has been difficult due to COVID-19, the recent prohibition by several social media sites on advertising and the recent frigid temperatures that have made it difficult to be outside for extended periods. However, he says that he has been able to receive feedback so far through his website and Facebook page and hopes to knock on doors in the near future.
A primary will be held on March 2 to narrow the field down to two candidates and a general election will be held on May 4, with the winner serving on the Board of Mayor and Aldermen until Jan. 4, 2022.
Both the primary and general election will be held at the Henry J. McLaughlin Middle School with polls open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.