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New Candidates Emerge In 2023 Concord Races As Signup Date Approaches

CONCORD, NH — For Candace Bouchard, the long-time Ward 9 city councilor who has been a state representative, it is family first, so she is not running for reelection in November.

Bouchard, who lives on the Concord Heights, said Tuesday it was “a great honor” to serve Ward 9, where she was “humbled by how many times the voters have voted me into office.” At the same time, with her husband retiring last year, she wanted to enjoy the spontaneity of going places and doing things that monthly meetings and various subcommittee meetings, too, did not allow.

“I like to give 100 percent,” Bouchard said. “Sometimes, it’s family first. I don’t think it would be fair to not put in the work … and what is expected of me. Now is a good time go … I’m going to miss it … I know I’m going to miss it.”

Bouchard pointed to both ward and citywide results she was proud of — including the community center on Canterbury Road, improvements and safety to Loudon Road, the downtown renovation project, getting companies to relocate to the Concord Airport, “to make it viable,” and the city’s extensive trail system. She said many things had been accomplished during the past eight terms “kept moving the city forward — while still keeping a small-town feel.”

One issue she felt would need to be tackled very soon was the homelessness and the crime that came with, which had exploded during the past five years with different categories of problems they faced.

New Candidates Emerge

A few candidates have announced their intentions to run or are leaning toward running.

Kevin Porter of Reserve Place has announced he is running for one of the two at-large seats contested this year.

During the past two decades, he has worked in community development finance and lending in the manufactured home sector for the past eight years. He has also served on boards and was involved in other activities.

Porter requested the city sell a 30-acre parcel to him after the conservation commission purchased the land. The owner of a tree farm, he thought it would be a good location for a small-scale private sustainable forestry. The request, however, was rejected by the board.

Porter said he was running because city government mattered and many of the decisions made by the council impacted residents. The city, he added, needed to make “better decisions” to improve outcomes while focusing on innovation and action, reining in wasteful spending, and improving public-private partnerships.

“The pattern of inaction and maintaining the status quo in Concord costs all of us,” he said. “There are better ways to do things, and there are many dedicated, talented people who can bring a great depth of experience and perspective to the table; but when these individuals are excluded, we shortchange ourselves. We can do better and we deserve better.”

Porter also said local government should accept more diverse perspectives. One example, as noted in a story in NH Business Review last year, was diversity on the city’s committees and boards, like the lack of anyone with agriculture or timber production experience on the conservation commission, the board that rejected his forestry idea.

Kevin Moore, a former Republican candidate for state representative who lives on Fisherville Road, said he was considering a run for mayor, but he had not made a firm decision.

Moore said he would like to see an expansion of public transportation options, including more electric buses, and would like to figure out how the city tackles the homeless problem.

“I would make sure that there are resources for them,” he said, “including empty buildings that are sitting (idly).”

Moore said some churches in the city were empty and could be used. He also said the Friendly Kitchen “could do a better job” of helping people, and more money from the state should be requested to keep the burden off property taxpayers.

Michele Horne of Bog Road is also running in Ward 2. According to her LinkedIn page, she is the office manager for IBEW Local 490 and previously worked for the Community Action Program Belknap-Merrimack Counties.

Horne did not return an email seeking comment about her race at post time.

Kretovic On The Fence … But Leaning

Jennifer Kretovic, the current Ward 3 city councilor, is also on the fence about running … but may stay put.

She said Tuesday she will be a candidate. For which seat was the question. While Kretovic was considering a citywide race, she was still concerned about fundraising needed to run a competent, successful race, while adding, “I am always committed to Ward 3.” At the same time, the community’s future mattered, she said. Kretovic feared 2023 would see an influx of out-of-city special interest cash like never seen before in municipal races.

“Realistically, if I take on a bigger race, I must have financial backing,” she said, “and that is the sad part of it. I am hyper-critical of political action committees coming to the table with hidden agendas and not serving our residents and businesses. We already see this happening at the table now. There is the potential for this to be much worse with Mayor Bouley stepping away.”

Shurtleff Not Running

Despite rumors to the contrary, state Rep. Steve Shurtleff, D-Penacook, a former at-large city councilor, will not be a candidate for mayor.

Shurtleff’s name had been floated around, something he, too, had heard and was “pleasantly surprised” by. However, he said he had no plans to return to municipal service. Instead, Shurtleff said, he was backing Byron Champlin.

“I had already told Byron that he had my support,” he said. “I couldn’t and wouldn’t go back on my promise to Byron. I believe Byron will be a very good mayor for the city of Concord.”

School Board Info Event Thursday

Current school board members will host a candidate meet-and-greet and information session at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 7, in the board room at the central office at 38 Liberty St.

The event is an opportunity for people curious about the board of education seats to learn more about them, including the time commitment needed to serve and the exact role of a school board member. Unlike other school districts in the state, board members are advisers to the school superintendent. SAU 8 is also one of the only autonomous districts in the state with its own taxing authority, without any oversight by the general public, like a town meeting or SB 2 voting rights that most communities have.

Who’s Running; Who’s Not? Updated

The following incumbents have confirmed they will be running again or are anticipating another run: At Large City Councilor Nathan Fennessey; Brent Todd in Ward 1; Karen McNamara in Ward 4; Stacey Brown in Ward 5; Paula McLaughlin in Ward 6; and Keith Nyhan in Ward 7.

Erle Pierce in Ward 2 is not running.

Kretovic in Ward 3 is undecided.

Bouchard in Ward 9 is not running.

Gail Matson in Ward 8 and Zandra Rice Hawkins in Ward 10 have not returned emails and-or phone calls seeking comment about their political futures.

Source : Patch