How long have you lived in Keene: 34 years
Family: Wife, Sharon; two adult children
Education: Bachelor’s degree, Journalism, 1980; Communications and Electronics; USMC, 1974
Occupation: Retired communications executive
Organizations to which you belong/have belonged: St. James congregant; United Way; Elm City Rotary, 5 yrs.; YMCA Board of Directors, 5 yrs.; professional associations
Public/government service: Vietnam Era Veteran, Sergeant, US Marine Corps; City Councilor, 10 yrs.; Keene Public Library Board of Trustees, 6 yrs., past president, and council liaison, 6 yrs.; Zoning Board of Adjustment, 6 yrs., past chair; Planning Board, 12 yrs.; Conservation Commission, 5 yrs; NH Municipal Association advocacy committee, 4 yrs.; others. Awarded Key to the City, 2012.
1. Why are you running for an at-large seat on the City Council?
I have very diverse local government experience, which I can share, not so much by talking as by listening and asking good questions.
I strongly favor turn-around on the City Council, as with other town boards and commissions. That is the main reason I left the board eight years ago following ten years of service. However, I believe also in the value of institutional memory and can return to the table with a great deal of additional experience from outside of council yet from within other important boards and organizations in our community.
Professionally, I directed communications efforts for ten years at one of the largest trade associations in the state and experienced first-hand the world of advocacy at that level. While on Council, I worked on advocacy in Concord for municipal causes as well and, thus, offer a unique, statewide perspective.
Finally, I want to do my part in restoring civility, respect and cooperation in government; that begins at home. I believe, if you ask those with whom I’ve worked in local government, you will find I am a team player.
2. What should the council’s role be in trying to make the city more attractive for business?
First and foremost, study the report from the Comprehensive Economic Development Committee entitled “City of Keene Economic Development Plan”, released at the City Council meeting September 19.
Most of us live here by choice; that is our great strength. We need to tout our home and communicate to the world the unique advantages we enjoy: the outdoors, our picturesque and productive Main Street, our colleges, and so much more. The city is already on track to do just that, with public and private cooperation. I believe we are about to be discovered by the next generations. To make that happen, we need to project the positive images and ideas we share, and constantly seek consensus on our mutual dreams, even amidst our diversity. Making our community business-friendly is exactly what the city’s Community Development Department is trying to achieve by revamping building codes and land use procedures; I laud their efforts.
Perhaps most obvious of all is that we need (and have) top-notch schools and opportunities for growing families.
3. What issue doesn’t get enough attention by city leaders?
Housing is critical, both workforce housing and care for the homeless. These issues are difficult and will always require inordinate attention. They are also nonetheless important to everyone’s well-being.
I believe a broad-based tax in NH would go a long way to improving housing and, perhaps more importantly, equalizing education funding in NH.
Living in a very rural part of Keene, I’ve learned the hard way how being disadvantaged by inadequate internet services adversely affects my profession. Internet is vital. It should be treated as such by and for everyone. The city of Keene includes a sizeable citizenry living in rural areas who enjoy fewer services — including and especially internet — but who pay equivalent taxes.
Managing the city’s funds and controlling taxes are critical roles for Council — including by advocating for fairness in state funding and seeking fair statewide taxation.
We need to grow support for our first responders and mental health professionals, who occupy the front lines in the opioid crisis and, I believe, who know best how to fight this scourge.
And sustainability: Keene has occupied the national forefront in this arena in the past and should continue to do so, and continue pursuing viable energy alternatives.