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Gatsas Files For 5th Term As Mayor Of Manchester, Joyce Craig And Firefighters Respond

Today, Mayor Ted Gatsas filed his paperwork to run for a fifth term as Mayor of Manchester.  The Manchester Mayoral race is shaping up to be a rematch between Joyce Craig and Ted Gatsas.  Craig lost the last election by only a few votes.

“Over the last eight years Manchester has stumbled from crisis to crisis and Mayor Ted Gatsas keeps claiming he doesn’t know when there are problems in the city,” said Joyce Craig.

“In just the last two weeks, Mayor Gatsas claimed he didn’t understand the “severity” of a violent crime in a school, claimed he didn’t know that the City Solicitor’s office was failing to prosecute domestic violence cases, and he didn’t realize his budget would result in the closure of fire stations. Mayor Gatsas is responsible for effectively managing the city and claiming he doesn’t know what is going on is not an acceptable excuse.”

“I’m ready to have an honest conversation about the challenges our city is facing and get to the hard work of making Manchester a better place for all families. Manchester has endless opportunities, but is being held back by a Mayor who doesn’t understand and doesn’t address problems until they are crises,” Craig concluded.

In his statement, Mayor Gatsas claimed he “saved a fire station from closing,” however local Firefighters disagree.

“The people of Manchester are tired of Teddy’s tall tales. Mayor Gatsas’ claim to having ‘saved a fire station from closing’ skirts the fact that the Mayor’s proposed budget underfunded the Manchester Fire Department from the start. Chief Goonan and his administration warned the Board of Mayor and Aldermen repeatedly that restricting his budget would result in station closures,” said the Manchester Professional Fire Fighters Association and the Manchester Association of Fire Supervisors in a joint statement.

“Not until the final warning came and sufficient plans were presented did the Board act to keep Station 9 open in an emergency meeting. Mayor Gatsas’ careless delays and ignoring public safety professionals’ warnings put lives at risk, and now he wants the credit for fixing a problem he created. Enough is enough,” the firefighters added.

Yesterday, a group of women from Manchester wrote an open letter to Mayor Gatsas highlighting his failed leadership surrounding the rape of a girl at West High School.

“As women of varied ages and backgrounds who are mothers, sisters, daughters and residents of Manchester, we are writing to express our shock over your clear misunderstanding of the severity of any incident of sexual assault and why we expect better from the Mayor of our city,” the women wrote.

The people of Manchester deserve better than two more years of Gatsas’s failed leadership.

Ted Gatsas To Seek Fifth Term As Mayor Of Manchester, Democratic Challenger Joyce Craig Responds

Manchester, NH – Today, in response to the announcement that Ted Gatsas will seek a fifth term for mayor, Joyce Craig, candidate for Mayor of Manchester, released the following statement.

“Manchester has great potential, but we need new leadership in the Mayor’s office to make real progress for our city”, said Joyce Craig.

“For eight years, Mayor Gatsas has let our city stumble from crisis to crisis. Drugs and violent crime continue to harm our city, millions of dollars of critical funding for schools has been mismanaged or lost, and city hall lacks a plan to grow an economy that works for all Manchester families.

Manchester needs a new Mayor with the vision, experience, and energy to address our challenges and provide a positive direction for our city. As an Alderman, I led bipartisan efforts to lower the tax rate while putting more police officers on the streets, improving our roads, and investing in our schools. As Mayor, I will make smarter decisions with taxpayer funds and work to make Manchester an outstanding place to raise a family, own a business and live a safe and prosperous life”, said Craig.

The Craig for Mayor Campaign also announced that later this month Joyce will kick off her “12 Wards in 12 Days” listening tour across the city. Joyce will participate in events in all 12 city wards in 12 days to hear from residents and business owners about their concerns and ideas, and to share her vision for Manchester’s future.

Joyce Craig Statement on Sunday night’s shooting in Ward 1

MANCHESTER – This morning, Ward 1 Alderman Joyce Craig released the following statement on the shooting this past Sunday night near the intersection of Ray and Carpenter streets in Ward 1.
“My heart goes out to the Robert family and all those affected by Sunday night’s awful events,” said Craig. “This is a terrible, senseless and heart breaking tragedy. We join together as a city to grieve for Denise and to mourn with all who loved her.
“Mike and I learned of this event when our youngest daughter, Kathryn, was at a birthday party a couple blocks away and was out playing with dozens of her friends in the neighborhood. She came back that night and told us about a car accident. This was an easier version for the parents to handle telling the kids, but I had already heard from several constituents about a shooting in the neighborhood.

“This event was shocking and many were stunned by the news. While the residents wondered what happened and why, the Manchester Police Department and the Office of the Attorney General began their investigation. Chief Willard’s actions to put every detective on this case and increase the amount of police patrol in the neighborhood were swift and appropriate. I am grateful to Chief Willard for keeping in close contact with me and for working with me to organize last night’s community meeting.

“I would also like to thank the Public Works Department for agreeing to install an additional street light in the area immediately after I made the request on behalf of neighborhood residents.

“Parents across the city will be having difficult conversions with their children in the coming days. As a mother, I am wrestling with how to discuss this tragic event with my children. As an alderman, I am concerned about the very serious crime problem in our city, and what impact this incident will have in our neighborhoods in the coming weeks and months.

“Although it has been a difficult few days for Manchester, I am truly inspired by the response thus far. I spoke to dozens of constituents and heard tales of parents looking after each other’s kids, neighbors lending others a helping hand, and residents reaching out to get more involved. I am also thankful for the prompt response we saw from our public safety officials in Manchester. Sunday night was a tragedy that will not soon be forgotten, but I am confident that we will move forward as a city and as an even stronger community.”
Joyce Craig currently serves as the Ward 1 Alderman and is a candidate for mayor of Manchester. 

Manchester Mayoral Race: To Debate Or Not To Debate, That Is The Question

The Manchester Mayoral race is heating up and the candidates are coming out swinging.

For those who may not have been following the race up to this point, let me quickly bring you up to speed.

There are three main competitors, Mayor Ted Gatsas, former Alderman Patrick Arnold, and Alderman Joyce Craig.

“As Mayor I have worked hard to build a better Manchester and I am proud of all that we have accomplished,” said Mayor Gatsas at his campaign kickoff

“I’m running for mayor of Manchester because the people of our city deserve better than the status quo and business as usual at City Hall. Over the last several years especially, our city has suffered from the timidity and ineffectiveness of the current administration. Drug activity and violent crime remain out of control. Opportunities for progress continue to be squandered. Taxpayers continue to seek a better return for their tax dollars,” said Arnold in his campaign announcement.

“I’m running for mayor because it’s time Manchester reaches its full potential,” said Alderman Joyce Craig. “Unfortunately, over the past six years our city’s growth has stalled under Mayor Gatsas’s poor leadership. Our schools are in worse shape, the drug epidemic is escalating, our roads are deteriorating and our infrastructure is outdated, yet the Mayor has put forth no concrete plans on how to tackle these problems. It is time our city has a mayor who will work with all partners to solve these citywide problems. I’m running for mayor to be the leader to move our city forward together and once again make Manchester a city that attracts families and businesses.”

I think we can all agree that Manchester needs a change in leadership and that Mayor Gatsas must go. He vetoed the Manchester Education Association’s contract, which would have given Manchester teachers their first raise in years.

Arnold called Mayor Gatsas’ recent veto of a proposed teachers’ contract “absurd” and urged Gatsas to step aside. “Mayor Gatsas, work with those elected by the voters, or step aside for someone who will,” Arnold said at the packed school board meeting.

“For six years the Mayor has bullied his way through these School Board meetings to the detriment of our students, teachers, and taxpayers,” said Alderman Craig. “During his tenure, we have lost teachers, our class sizes are still high, we lost the sending towns of Auburn, Hooksett, and Candia, and now our school year begins in a few weeks and teachers will return to their classrooms without a contract in place for the third year in a row.”

Both Arnold and Alderman Craig have received strong support from the people of Manchester. Local 7 Ironworkers, the Manchester City Firefighters, and six of the Manchester School Board members have endorsed Arnold. On the other side, IBEW 490, IBEW 2320, Senator Donna Soucy, and Senator Lou D’Allesandro have endorsed Alderman Craig.

Before we get to the general election, one of these three candidates will be eliminated in the city-wide primary on September 15th. We all know it is nearly impossible to unseat an incumbent in the primary so the primary race really boils down to Arnold and Alderman Craig.


Recently a new controversy has emerged as Arnold called on the Democratic Party to organize debates between himself and Alderman Craig. “Let’s discuss the challenges we face as a city. Let’s debate what works and what doesn’t,” Arnold said.

The Union Leader reported that Arnold publically called for debates at the annual Manchester City Democrats meeting. Ted Siefer also reported on Alderman Craig’s resistance to debating at the time.

She said she was willing to participate in debates “at some time probably, but right now I’m speaking to voters directly,” she told me. “I feel there will be plenty of time to engage in politics, and right now my focus is my work as an alderman and hearing directly from voters and the issues concerning them.”

Many attempts have been made to hold a debate but Arnold is now accusing Alderman Craig of refusing to debate. “Manchester deserves debates. Manchester voters deserve to see and hear the differences between the candidates, and ask them questions. Timid candidates can come up with any excuse to hide from their records and the voters. Manchester deserves better.”

I reached out to Alderman Craig and she responded by stating that she is open to a debate and that a primary debate should include all candidates, including Mayor Gatsas, and to her knowledge no other pre-primary debates have been scheduled with all candidates. Alderman Craig also highlighted the upcoming education forum hosted by the Manchester Education Association on September 9th.

Alderman Craig also repeated the line that she is focused on “communicating with voters” as she has in previous statements to the Union Leader.

Where is the truth in all of this? Is Alderman Craig refusing to debate Arnold? Is Alderman Craig correct by stating she would debate but none have been scheduled?

Unfortunately I cannot answer any of these questions for you. I do think that the Manchester Democrats should have organized some type of debates between these candidates.   I also think that Alderman Craig should accept Arnold’s call to debate on Manchester Public Television. What better way to get your message out to the people than to show them who you are, what you stand for, and that you can handle yourself in a debate, before you have to face off against Mayor Gatsas.

I guess you could say the ball is Alderman Craig’s court. What will she do?


 

You can get more information about where to vote from here, or to request an absentee ballot, here.

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