How long have you lived in Keene: Since 2017
Family: I am married to Joy Greeley and we have 13 year old son, Calvin
Education: Master of Science in Information Systems, University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC), 2007
Occupation: I run my own software consulting business.
Organizations to which you belong/have belonged: United Nations Staff Union, Star Island International Affairs Conference, CANTO Working Committee on Disaster Risk Management, The Nature Conservancy, Keene YMCA
Public/government service: I spent most of the last decade working for the United Nations. My work has supported national governments in areas including nuclear and conventional disarmament, telecommunications policy, cyberdiplomacy, rebuilding after natural disasters, and helping people with disabilities.
1. Why are you running for a ward seat on the City Council?
Since I’ve moved here, I’ve not just grown fond of the city – I’m genuinely impressed by it. Like any place, Keene has its problems, but what stand out to me are its strengths. It is a community full of good-hearted people, it has a creative and entrepreneurial spirit, and it has a beauty that is drawn from its historical character and its closeness to nature.
Keene will need to draw on these strengths as we face our greatest challenge in the coming years: the world is getting hotter. We are told that, in the second half of this century, New Hampshire will have a climate similar to what Virginia experiences today. If this is the case, how will the city adapt when its natural systems are thrown into chaos? How will we deal with the influx of people from places Virginia, and points south, when the New England climate doesn’t seem like a bad trade-off anymore?
I don’t have the answers to these questions, but I want to take part in the process that helps us find them. And that’s why I’m running for a ward seat on the City Council.
2. What’s an issue of particular importance to residents of your ward — more than to the city in general — and how would you address it?
Beaver Brook, which runs through the heart of Ward 2, is ecologically damaged, has banks overgrown with invasive weeds, and remains a flood risk that contributes to blight in some of our most populous neighborhoods At the top of its watershed, Beaver Brook is a lovely stream, but as it flows through town it becomes an unsightly drainage ditch.
I propose a holistic approach to the restoration of Beaver Brook and surrounding neighborhoods, such as those along Church Street, Brook Street, and Spring Street. This would include environmental restoration geared toward increasing the ability of the wetlands near the Woodland Cemetery to retain flood water, reducing the risk to downstream neighborhoods.
At the same time, I would like to see the city make a focused effort to improve infrastructure in these neighborhoods – including the streets, sidewalks, and broadband – and look into the possibility of creating a bicycle path along the stream that would connect Ward 2 into the city’s broader network of rail trails. I hope that this type of public investment would encourage local landlords to spend more money on upkeep and renovation of their properties, improving the quality of housing available to some of our most vulnerable residents.
3. What should the council’s role be in trying to make the city more attractive for business?
When I decided to start my own business, my family chose Keene as a home base because we liked the culture here, because we felt it would be a good place to raise our son, and because the cost of housing in Keene is still more reasonable than in other parts of the northeast.
Since then, I’ve managed to bring in a pretty good income for myself — and sometimes for others — from outside the region, and I’ve spent that money here in Keene. I think that remote workers, like myself, are potentially a great resource for the economy, and I think that Keene has a lot to entice them with.
More broadly, I believe that businesses will be attracted to Keene if Keene can attract the workforce to sustain them. If we can make sure that Keene is a place where skilled, hardworking people want to live, then not only will existing businesses choose to come to the city, but new businesses will be created here.
From the council’s perspective, this means focusing on quality-of-life issues, like neighborhood amenities, affordable housing, and improved transportation links — both within Keene, and connecting Keene with other communities in the region.
4. What issue doesn’t get enough attention by city leaders?
I’m frustrated by the condition of the city’s neighborhood sidewalks. A lot has been invested to make the sidewalks pretty good downtown, but once you get away from downtown, a lot of sidewalks are in really bad shape.
On Beaver Street, for example, the road has recently been paved, but the sidewalk remains cracked and crumbling. Some neighborhoods have no viable sidewalks at all. Its telling that the city budget provides nineteen times as much money for road repair as it does for fixing sidewalks. I think those proportions need to be reconsidered.
For most, cracked sidewalks are just an inconvenient eyesore, but for some, they present a barrier to mobility. People who are in wheelchairs or who are pushing strollers should not have to navigate an obstacle course just to get around town. Keene can take pride that it is a walkable city – but it is not a very rollable city. If elected to the City Council, it will be my goal to change that.