I’m a lifelong Democrat, and on Nov. 5 I’ll be voting for George Hansel for mayor — not because of his progressive voting record (which is in sync with my views), or because of his vision for the future of Keene (which he clearly and comprehensively articulates). George earned my vote because of the way he’s conducted himself on City Council and the way he’s running his campaign.
George has spent thousands of hours over the past four years meeting with constituents and volunteering his time for a diverse set of nonprofits that add to the health and vibrancy of our community. These interactions have given him a strong understanding of Keene’s challenges and assets, and ideas for how to move the city forward. He’s crafted a message based on a positive vision of Keene’s future, which he’s putting into words and bringing to life through his own efforts. And along the way he’s inspired countless people to become involved in our community.
This matters because the mayor’s job involves very little legislating and a whole lot of marketing and partnership development. Keene’s mayor represents the city to external stakeholders and we need someone who can successfully promote the city as a viable home for young workers, families and businesses alike. We need someone who can build relationships with key state, federal, business and nonprofit organizations (and not just those who share their political views); someone who can think on their feet and project confidence while also being inclusive. Someone who builds bridges.
Contrast this with the highly partisan, largely outsourced Greenwald campaign. It’s not a secret that Greenwald’s campaign has tried to make this nonpartisan race all about national politics, but fewer people know that a political operative from Minnesota has set up camp in Keene to run Mitch Greenwald’s campaign. While I do appreciate the economic stimulus this visitor provides, I find his presence to be deeply concerning — because if Mitch can’t market himself authentically in a campaign, how can we expect him to market Keene if he gets the job? Do we really want intense partisanship in our local government?
The citizens of Keene will vote, the gentleman from Minnesota will go home, and Keene’s next mayor will need to govern. Let’s hope they have the right skill set, independence and vision to lead the city forward.
39 Union St.