I found Mr. Byrnes’ youth-based defense of Mr. Hansel’s candidacy (“Hansel has youth, vision for the city,” Reader Opinion, Oct 1) particularly interesting, and a bit curious, since all the other qualifications listed apply with far greater force to Mitch Greenwald. Apparently, Mitch’s only disqualifier would be his age.

In recent memory, some of Keene’s best mayors have been older, and the idea that “new ideas” are needed to benefit the city insults those of us of a certain age who now stand accused of being incapable of the mental flexibility to function effectively. It is almost that Mitch’s proven devotion to the city over many years is now to be seen as a liability, when it is clear that he has the knowledge and experience, and proven record, to deal with the issues particular to Keene. And those issues are real.

A resident of Keene for nearly 50 years, a graduate of Keene State College, an extremely successful businessman, he does not need to prove anything, he doesn’t need to establish his bona fides. He’s not intending to use the position of mayor as a stepping stone to some higher office; he has already demonstrated his qualifications by his years of service to the city. I see his age as a strength, not a weakness. His intimate knowledge of the community is partly a result of his years of service, which makes them a benefit.

I’m glad there was not a mandatory retirement age for Michelangelo, because he would not have done the paintings in St. Peter’s Basilica; or for Philip Roth, or we’d be missing a dozen books. I’m sorry, but I see Mitch Greenwald’s age, which is a measure of his experience and love for the community, as one of the many reasons to vote for, not against, him on Oct. 8.

LARRY BENAQUIST

166 South Lincoln St.

Keene