Name: Randy L. Filiault
How long have you lived in Keene: life time Keene resident
Family: Wife, Holly A Filiault; Son, Dr Shaun M Filiault
Education: Keene Public Schools, US Navy Nuclear Submarine School, Keene State College
Occupation: Promotions/Sales Monadnock Ford
Organizations to which you belong/have belonged: Keene Chamber of Commerce, Keene American Legion, Submarines Veterans of America
Public/government service: Current: Keene City Councilor: Vice Chair, Municipal Services, Facilities and Infrastructure Committee. Previous: Chair, Finance Organization and Personnel Committee; Chair, Health and Safety Committee; Member, Planning Licenses and development committee; Co-Chair, Mayor’s Committee on Substance Abuse; Firefighter/EMT Keene Fire Department Call Company. US Navy Submarine Veteran
1. Why are you running for an at-large seat on the City Council?
l love Keene. I was born and raised in Keene, attended Keene public schools, and chose to stay and raise a family here: I seriously love my hometown. This gives me a first-hand perspective of our city’s history, including which ideas worked and which that haven’t. My goal is, and always has been, to make Keene a safe, welcoming and affordable city for all. As a lifetime resident, and as a current city councilor, l have a voting record I’m proud of, and is available for anyone to see. Let’s be honest — in politics, words are cheap. Anyone can say or promise anything to make them sound more electable. However, it’s not what one says they’ll do, but what one has actually done that’s important.
2. What should the council’s role be in trying to make the city more attractive for business?
We can do three things: make city government easier to transact with, make housing more affordable, and improve communication with local businesses. It’s no secret Keene once had a reputation for being difficult to do business with. Fortunately, that reputation has been changed through hard work by the city government. For instance, previously one would have to navigate through several different departments for one permit. That has been simplified to “one stop shopping”. Yet, there is still much more to do. Recently, l wrote legislation to ease regulations on food trucks operating in Keene. What should have been an easy request wasn’t, and that difficulty shows we still have work to do. We also need affordable housing. If one can’t afford to live in Keene, it hurts the chances of businesses relocating here. Housing affordability is an issue Keene takes seriously and is addressing aggressively. Before we can expect new businesses to open in Keene, we must also communicate better with current business owners. As much as we’d like other companies to relocate to Keene, many other communities would love one of our businesses to relocate to their town. We can never afford that to happen. Open communication is key.
3. What issue doesn’t get enough attention by city leaders?
The key issue in every community is overall affordability. It’s simple: If one can’t afford to live here, we suffer. One major issue that is hurting Keene — as well as our neighbors — is the State of New Hampshire’s refusal to pay communities the money it is legally obligated to pay them. I’ve been aggressively demanding the State adhere to the legally mandated distribution of rooms and meals tax revenues. By law, enacted in 1967, the State is required to send 40% of collected revenues back to communities. This past fiscal year, they sent only 21%. Over the years, the State has shortchanged Keene millions of dollars. With limited revenues beside property taxes, communities such as Keene simply cannot continue to be shortchanged by the State government, who violate a lawful agreement simply because “they can.” It’s time for Keene to call in the tab.