Published DateLACONIA — Ed Engler, the editor and president of The Laconia Daily Sun, yesterday became the second candidate to file for mayor, joining Bob Luther, a onetime city councilor and current state representative in the race to succeed Mike Seymour, with one day left in the filing period.
A native of South Dakota and graduate of the University of Texas, Engler has spent 36 years in the newspaper business, the last 27 of them in New Hampshire, where he was among three partners who founded The Daily Sun in 2000. He is a director of the Belknap Economic Development Council, co-chair of Lakes Region Listens and treasurer of the Laconia Rotary Club.
Engler said yesterday that running for mayor had not crossed his mind until he was approached by people he declined to identify but expected would eventually speak for themselves. However, he said that "when you are involved in civic affairs, you know the lay of the land, who the players are. Along with others, I made a mental list of those I thought would make good replacements (for Seymour)," he continued. "It is not a deep list and when no one on my list stepped forward, I decided to do it. It was my obligation."
Acknowledging that it may be "rare and unusual" for the editor of a community newspaper to hold elective office, Engler said that "it should not be a disqualifier." Earlier in his career, he served as a commissioner of a village district and a member of the school board without controversy. "I have some experience," he said, adding that he is confident "it will be possible for me to serve as mayor and for The Sun to continue to be the fair and neutral source of news it has been."
Engler said that if he is elected, managerial and editorial direction for the reporting of city business will pass to Publisher Adam Hirshan, his business partner who was editor of the Conway Daily Sun for 20 years.
While Engler insisted he has no platform or agenda, he said that "economic vitality" would be his primary focus as mayor. "Government needs to take an active rather than passive role," he said. "I don't believe in sitting back and hoping for the best." Conceding that "I have a lot of homework to do," he said that there are many talented people in the community and a number initiatives underway. "I need to become more familiar with what is being done."
"I'm approaching with the mindset of serving a minimum of four years, "Engler said. "There's a learning curve and there is a responsibility here. You don't just walk away."