Potholes don’t care if you’re a Democrat or a Republican, they just need to be filled. Few are aware that Keene has a nonpartisan ballot dictated by a legal document, the Keene City Charter. “All municipal elections and municipal primaries shall be non-partisan in nature and no ballot shall show a designation of party …”

Unfortunately, this campaign season some local candidates see an electoral advantage by touting their party affiliation and party endorsements and criticizing those who have “the wrong agenda.” This emphasis on partisanship goes against our own Keene City Charter.

This is very troubling to me as a city councilor because I took an oath of office to abide by the City Charter. As you evaluate your choices for mayor and City Council this year, I hope you will judge the candidates on the specific ideas they bring to the table for a better Keene.

I am a registered Democrat. I don’t like the bipartisanship that is going on at the state and national levels. I support local councilors and other elected officials who are both independent and Republican. I hope Keene voters are open-minded and not “guilt by sins of party”-minded in the upcoming election.

I strongly support George Hansel for mayor because he has a successful leadership strategy of reaching out to businesses, organizations and citizens for collaboration and solution-solving locally. Leadership is not just measured by how many committees one has chaired on the Keene City Council, but how a candidate has improved the city to benefit residents. George has been a longtime advocate for mental health, which is a topic that is also close to my heart.

George has the ability to bring the city and the college closer in his role as a trustee for the University System of New Hampshire. George is improving Keene’s economic business connections by founding the Keene Manufacturers Consortium, a group of local business owners and executives that meet monthly to tackle economic issues in our city. He has also worked hard to expand workforce training opportunities for tradespeople in our local community.

So, let’s worry less about party affiliation and more about character, fresh energy and leadership for Keene. I urge you to vote for George Hansel for mayor in the upcoming election on Nov. 5.

STEVE HOOPER

5 Colby St.

Keene

(This writer represents Ward 1 on the Keene City Council and is a candidate for an at-large council seat.)