How long have you lived in Keene: 24 years
Family: My wife is Kate Leinster-O’Connor. Two children, Claire and William, both attend Keene High School.
Education: Did not answer.
Occupation: Safety Director at Brattleboro Union High School. Part-time Chief of Police in Roxbury, NH.
Organizations to which you belong/have belonged: Keene Police Benevolent Association, Director-NH Police Association, Director-National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO).
Public/government service: Ward 4 City Councilor assigned to the Planning, Licenses and Development committee. Previously a Ward 4 City Councilor from 2012 to 2016 assigned to the MSFI Committee. I served on the Keene Heritage Commission. Volunteer soccer coach through Keene Parks and Recreation Department. Volunteer Firefighter in Simsbury, Connecticut (1989-1993).
1. Why are you running for a ward seat on the City Council?
I’ve lived in Keene for 24 years and during that time I’ve been an active member of this community. It’s been a wonderful place to raise my family, complete my degree at Keene State College and participate in so many great activities. In the late 1990’s I gave back to my community by volunteering as a soccer coach and later by serving on the Keene Heritage Commission. This sparked my interest in local politics and I was appointed to the City Council in 2012 and elected as a Ward 4 Councilor in 2014. In August of 2019, I was selected by the City Council to fill the vacant Ward 4 seat. I believe I’m an asset to the city due to my years of leadership experience as a public servant in federal, state and local governments. My leadership style and listening skills make me an excellent choice for Ward 4 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?
A topic of interest while I served on the Municipal Services, Facilities and Infrastructure committee was the development of Wheelock Park. Many residents voiced their concerns over the development of the park and changing the character of the landscape by adding different community attractions. This is a great example of a local issue and it’s important for standing committees and the full Council to listen to the residents that may be impacted by a project. If residents have a concern I encourage them to speak up and become organized and bring their findings or concerns to the City. It’s highly important for Ward Councilors to be accessible and respond to constituents in a timely fashion.
3. What should the council’s role be in trying to make the city more attractive for business?
Extensive work went into developing the City’s Master Plan and this should be a document referenced regularly when dealing with the growth of the City. I’ve mentioned the process should be streamlined for a business to obtain permits or to simply operate. It’s critical to have a user friendly City website and access to city staff. Decisions by city staff or Council should be made in a timely manner so the formation or operation of a particular business is not impacted. The Council has heard from the business sector that high speed internet is a priority and the use of green energy is also a factor. These are topics the Council should discuss and implement such resources when feasible.
4. What issue doesn’t get enough attention by city leaders?
City leaders need to hear from residents on issues that directly concern them or the City in general. It’s difficult to address a situation when the correct people or city agencies are not made aware. I encourage the residents of Keene to learn the process to contact City Hall or their City Councilors. This information is readily available on the City website. I also encourage residents to attend standing committee meetings and full City Council meetings to understand what’s truly happening in their community.