Why I am Running for State Representative

I am running for the state legislature because I believe in fairness and the obligation of the government to protect the most vulnerable among us.

I am running for the state legislature because I believe that our children are entitled to a quality public education and that the state must meet its court-ordered obligation to support our public schools.

I am running for the state legislature because I support efforts to ensure that those who have the right to vote may do so and to broaden voter participation, not restrict it.

I am running for the state legislature because I support policies that will improve the quality of our workforce, strengthen our infrastructure, and enhance public transportation, including rail service.

I am running for the state legislature because common sense should tell us that School Boards should have the right to ban guns from school buildings and property, except for those carried by law enforcement personnel.

I care about strengthening families and giving people tools to determine the direction of their lives.

I retired from my appointed position as Nashua City Clerk, after 16 years of service, in 2015. This is my first campaign for office since then, but it is not my first time running for elective office. I served in the NH House of Representatives in 1973 – 1974, was elected to the NH Constitutional Convention in 1974, and during the 1980s had two unsuccessful campaigns as the Democratic nominee for State Senate in District 14.

I graduated from Bishop Guertin High School in 1968, and the events of that year certainly shaped my political views and focused my political energies. 1968 was the year of North Vietnam’s Tet Offensive, of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s assassination, of Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination, of Russia’s invasion of Czechoslovakia, and of Black athletes protesting at the Summer Olympics by raising their fists during the National Anthem. That June, our graduating class of 18-year-olds knew that some would be going to Vietnam, and not all might come home. And at 18, we did not have the right to vote.

The values of today’s Democratic party are not that different from those of the 70s and 80s. We believe in giving those who are in need a hand up, not a hand out. We believe in quality education. We believe that voting is a right and responsibility and not a privilege. We believe in fighting for the rights of women and minorities. We believe in expanding access to affordable housing. And we believe in, and embrace, the strength of diversity.

As a boy, I remember hearing residents conversing in restaurants, in stores, on buses, and in their workplaces in a variety of languages – French, Greek, Italian, Spanish, and Polish. Today, I know people who have emigrated to the United States, and I believe in their right to feel safe, to enjoy their liberties, and to achieve their aspirations and dreams for themselves and their children…just as our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents dreamt for us.

These values are not just abstract ideals; they are also personal. My 89-year-old mother is able to live independently in the home she has owned for over 60 years because of government-funded assistance programs. I have a daughter and son-in-law whose family moved out-of-state in search of a better public education for their children and more affordable housing. I have a five-year-old granddaughter who described to me the safety drill she and her classmates had – hiding in a closet – in case “a badman came with a gun.”

Why am I running for the office of NH State Representative? Because I believe that we need to stay true to what makes New Hampshire, and its people, great. And because I think that, together, we can make a difference.

Families Belong Together: Greeley Park Rally

On June 30th, hundreds of thousands of people across the country, in more than 700 cities and towns, gathered to protest President Trump’s decision to separate children from their parents being held in detention at the border. And although the Administration signed an order that ended family separations prior to the date of the rallies, there remained concerns about reuniting the more than 2,000 children that were already separated from their families, about the question of indefinite retention, and about the President’s call to ignore due process and send families back immediately without an appearance before a federal judge.

Nashua’s “Families Belong Together” rally was held at Greeley Park. Close to 300 people gathered in front of the bandshell for a program that included speakers, prayer, and songs. With the midday heat in the low 90s, those in attendance clustered in front of the stage or in the shade provided by trees along the edges of the bandshell’s lawn area.

Scheduled program participants included Reverend Hank Junkin, Reverend Allison Palm, Dan Weeks, Daniel Pontoh, Alderwoman Shoshanna Kelly, Alejandro Urrutia, Jenn Morton, Brenna Woods, and Mayor Jim Donchess. Several others in attendance, including Ward 8 State Rep. Latha Mangipudi, took to the podium to share their experiences as legal immigrants and to express the pain they would have felt had their children been taken away from them as they entered the United States.

The program was informative and passionate. It is unfortunate that our local newspaper, The Telegraph, did little (if anything) to announce the event, did not send a reporter or photographer over to cover the event, and did not publish an article about the rally in the days following the event. Fortunately, the Families Belong Together rallies were national news, and our residents surely heard about some of the programs that were held coast-to-coast…even if they did not receive any news about what happened at Greeley Park, in the City of Nashua, midday on Saturday, June 30th.