How long have you lived in Keene: 27 years
Family: Teresa Starkey (Mother), Fuller School Teacher
Education: George Washington University
Occupation: Executive Director, Monadnock Peer Support
Organizations to which you belong/have belonged: Greater Keene Rotaract Club, Maps Counseling Center Board, NH Peer Voice, Takodah YMCA, TEDxKeene Speaker and Organizer
Public/government service: Keene Board of Education, College-City Commission (City of Keene), NH State 10 Year Mental Health Plan committee
1. Why are you running for an at-large seat on the City Council?
I’ve always believed in giving back to the community, ever since my time at Keene High School. Since graduating college I’ve looked for opportunities to be involved in tackling areas for improvement in our community. Whether it’s education, homelessness, mental health, or making the area more attractive for young people, I’ve tried to contribute. I’m running for an at-large seat because I want to bring passion and solutions to many of our common problems. There’s so much to be a part of in Keene, and I hope to encourage more citizens to be involved not only in city politics but in all that our community has to offer. Most importantly, I want to listen. I hope to listen and take action on issues that impact the daily lives of residents and those who visit. I believe that Keene is poised to be a state, and even national, leader when it comes to quality of life for families, youth, career goals, and life through retirement. I want to support the work in shaping and having our community become that leader.
2. What should the council’s role be in trying to make the city more attractive for business?
The city council represents the community to potential and current businesses in the community. The council should be taking a leading role in forming partnerships and fostering a community of support for not only larger employers, but entrepreneurial and start up opportunities. The council also plays a vital role in the vitality and growth of our nonprofit sector by supporting the work, providing information to residents on services and programs, and facilitating partnerships. The council needs to ensure that Keene becomes a home for generations of families and their businesses.
3. What issue doesn’t get enough attention by city leaders?
Affordable housing has been an issue that gets talked about, but rarely has the attention of finding positive solutions. It also impacts every part of our community, from the poorest and most vulnerable to the family paying a mortgage. Affordable housing is the bedrock of our ability to develop a high quality of life. For the homeless, an affordable housing option means a roof over their head to tackle other struggles like wellness, recovery, and getting a job. For the family struggling to pay the mortgage, relief can mean more money to invest in the local economy, our schools, and personal wellness. For the college student and young adult, it means actually being able to stay in this community and set down roots for a future. We need to make strong investments and find opportunities to support our entire community to thrive. Affordable housing is the crucial tipping point in making sure all of our citizens can have opportunity for growth.