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Second At Large Concord City Councilor Considers Mayoral Run

CONCORD, NH — Another at-large Concord city councilor is eyeing a run for mayor in November and if she wins, she will be only the second woman elected to the role in the city’s history.

Amanda Grady Sexton, a former ward councilor who made the leap to citywide but is one of two at-large councilors not up for re-election in November, said she had heard from “many residents” asking her to run for mayor and was considering it.

“I’m having discussions with my family about how I can most effectively serve the community now and in the future,” she said. “Too many potential city council candidates seem confused about the role of municipal government. We’re not here to promote ourselves or our own personal social agendas. We need to stay focused on providing excellent quality services, improving public safety, reducing the tax rate, and promoting smart growth policies.”

Grady Sexton, who is active in statewide politics and works on domestic and sexual violence prevention, said the council had “a long history of leaders with diverse backgrounds coming together to do what’s best for the people of Concord.” But, she said, the divisiveness that existed nationally, “doesn’t have to play out in our chamber.” Grady Sexton added, “We can still have differences and work together in a respectful and constructive way. The voters expect that of us.”

Only one woman has been mayor of Concord: Elizabeth “Liz” Hager, for one term, in the late 1980s.

McNamara Is In For Ward 4

Ward 4 City Councilor Karen McNamara, who won the special election in 2019, said she would be seeking another term.

McNamara said the issues facing the ward and city “run the gamut” from parking, housing and the homeless, drugs and crimes, and other issues. She enjoyed investigating situations with residents in the ward and helping them solve problems.

“That kind of stuff just keeps me going; it’s goal-driven,” she said.

Are you considering a run for a municipal office in 2023? Email me at tony.schinella@patch.com and let me know!

While looking at the entire city, there were “a plethora of issues” that were becoming bigger — a “huge housing problem” that everyone agreed was major, drug addiction, and the “trickle-down effect” of everything connected to methamphetamine and fentanyl crimewave which “acerbated the problems” of the city while also being a nationwide problem.

McNamara said, first and foremost, it was important for residents to feel safe. At the same time, the police are dealing with many other social issues than before.

“A lot of voices have to come together to fix the problems,” she said. “And I do like that challenge.”

Bowing Out In Ward 2

One ward city councilor on the fence about running again has decided to bow out.

Erle Pierce in Ward 2 told his newsletter subscribers Friday he would not be running for re-election. He noted a bit of “musical chairs” going on with incumbents and other residents who might want to run. He encouraged anyone who wanted to serve the city to sign up. Pierce said he and his wife were looking for a larger, single-level home and might find one outside the ward. If he moved before the end of his term, it would force a special election, and an added expenseto the city. While out of the race, Pierce pointed to accomplishments and said he enjoyed his role.

“We did experience some successes in the last four years for those of you who live in the Penacook region of Ward 2 and for those who do not,” he said. “No one councilor gets anything accomplished without the help and support of a majority of the council. Please be sure to look at and choose well-rounded candidates who are likely to play well with others; possess some good, old fashion common sense; and are more than a single-issue candidate.”

The quote, however, seemed like a shot at Allan Herschlag, the former Ward 2 councilor who may be eyeing a return and was often chided for being critical of Mayor Jim Bouley and not supporting proposals (i.e., playing nice with others). Herschlag often was the lone vote against initiatives.

“I am pleased to see that Erle has been able to work with his fellow members of the city council during his tenure,” Herschlag said in an email. “I hope he doesn’t believe that holding the city council accountable for following their rules, the public’s right to know, and how your property taxes are spent, would exclude a councilor from working with other members and our city’s administration.”

Pierce, however, said the comment was not meant to be a slap at anyone — just advice to those on his constituent list, including Herschlag, on what to look for when choosing a candidate for any office.

‘Jenny K’ Ponders Her Future

Over in Ward 3, Jennifer Kretovic, the incumbent, had not decided what she will be doing this year.

Kretovic will not be running for mayor even though she would “love to sit at a higher level at the table.” She added, “I don’t think I’m ready, and the money spent in the last couple of go-rounds … I don’t have that kind of money.”

Kretovic, who is sometimes nicknamed “Jenny K” by her friends loved, however, serving on the board. She was first elected to Ward 2 in 2011 by 11 votes against Herschlag but was redistricted into Ward 3 after the 2010 Census. She lost a three-way race in 2013 but won the seat in 2015.

Primarily, she focused on her own ward in her first term. Kretovic said she learned later that every ward councilor needed to think about what was going on in all the other neighborhoods and wards. The interaction at the council table, usually, helped other ward councilors understand citywide issues — with the at-large councilors representing everyone, too.

This last term, though, meetings had been tense on the council, Kretovic said.

“I haven’t seen that respect at the table (that there was in the past),” she said. “That’s a real frustration.”

And, again, there was the money needed to run citywide, too.

“It will keep other people from the table, which is unfortunate,” Kretovic said, “because it shouldn’t. People should seek higher aspirations. I wouldn’t want to be elected mayor because I raised the most money. That’s not what it is about. It is about what you’re doing for the city.”

Kretovic added, “In all likelihood, I will run,” whether ward or at-large.

Other 2023 Candidate Updates

Taylor Hall, who ran for mayor two years ago and was thinking about another race this year, said Friday he was considering a run for one of the two at-large council seats.

As previously reported, Nathan Fennessy, an incumbent at-large councilor, anticipated running again. Byron Champlin, an at-large city councilor whose seat is up in November, is also considering a mayoral run. Brent Todd in Ward 1, Stacey Brown in Ward 5, Paula McLaughlin in Ward 6, and Keith Nyhan in Ward 7 are all running.

Rob Kleiner, an operations director with a background in insurance, marketing, and computer science, will be running in November to represent Ward 2.

Gail Matson in Ward 8, Candace Bouchard in Ward 9, and Zandra Rice Hawkins have not indicated yet to Patch whether they will be running again.

Board Of Education Update

Thomas Croteau, a former educator and school administrator appointed to fill out the remaining term of Zone A candidate Kate West, after she moved out of the district and was ousted from the board, is undecided about running again.

“Thinking retirement, at this time,” he said in an email, adding, “Never say never, though.”

Brenda Hastings, at the end of her first term representing Zone C (Wards 8, 9, and 10), confirmed she would be running again in November.

Zone B (Ward 5, 6, and 7) voters will have an open seat to consider since Jonathan Weinberg has decided not to run again.

How To Run In 2023

Filing by candidates for the mayor’s race, city council, and ward officials will run from Sept. 8 to Sept. 18. The fee is $5 to run for mayor and city council; $1 for a ward official. Filing will be held at the Concord City Clerk’s Office from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. On Thursday, the clerk’s office is open until 6 p.m. On the last day of filing, the clerk’s office will be open until 5 p.m. Candidates can also obtain ballot access via a signature petition drive. Potential candidates must live in the city and the ward they are a candidate in to be elected.

Patrick Taylor, the school district clerk, told Patch earlier this week that information about the signup schedule for SAU 8 board of education seats would be posted soon. Zone candidates must live in the district to be able to run and serve.

Source : Patch