Donald Bolduc, left, a retired brigadier general with the U.S. Army, campaigned at Leavitt Park along with his father, Armand, who ran for re-election to the City Council. Bolduc beat Reuben Bassett for Ward 6 in Laconia. (Adam Drapcho/Laconia Daily Sun)
Bruce Cheney, Mark Haynes elected, Armand Bolduc and David Bownes re-elected to City Council
By RICK GREEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — Voters approved keno gambling in the city Tuesday, re-elected incumbent city councilors David Bownes and Armand Bolduc and selected facilities manager Mark Haynes and former police chief Bruce Cheney to join the council.
Bolduc, 78, who has served on the council for 34 years, defeated restaurateur Reuben Bassett, 226-191, in Ward 6.
Bolduc said he's looking forward to seeing improvements in downtown, including completion of the Colonial Theatre renovation and coming to some sort of agreement on the downtown parking garage, which has become dilapidated.
“I'd like to tear it right down to the first level, put a roof on the stores on the ground level, and build another garage somewhere else,” he said.
Bassett, who has a young family and is co-owner of the Burrito Me restaurant in the old railroad station downtown, said he had hoped to inject fresh new ideas into the council.
“I would have provided a different demographic,” he said. “Right now you have a lot of the same people, which is a concern. But if the young people don't come out and vote, their voices don't get heard.”
Cheney, 74, the father of the state's 911 emergency system, defeated real estate agent Susan Hodgkins, 178-149 in Ward 1, where incumbent councilor Ava Doyle did not seek re-election.
He said he wants to learn more before he sets any particular agenda.
“I think that I need to know a little more about a lot of things, but I'm looking forward to improving things,” Cheney said.
Mark Haynes, 67, the Ward 4 moderator and facilities manager at the Laconia Clinic, said he was shocked at being able to beat a 12-year incumbent, Brenda Baer, who at age 91 is the oldest person on the City Council.
“I would just like to keep the city moving forward,” he said.
Haynes said he was also looking forward at getting a fuller picture about pressing issues.
“As a candidate, you really don't have the inside information,” Haynes said.
For her part, Baer said she will maintain an interest in city affairs after she leaves the council.
“It is what it is,” she said. “I may be dead, but I'm not buried. I'll keep my nose in, believe me. My letter writing is not over.”
In Ward 2, longtime incumbent Councilor David Bownes, 68, defeated electronics repair shop owner Richard B. Beaudoin, 104 to 70.
“Of course I'm happy about being re-elected,” Bownes said. “There are some things that we can make a lot of progress on.”
He also said he wants to see the Colonial project through to fruition, and he said he wants to see progress on redevelopment of the former State School property. A state committee is looking at economic development options for that land.
“We have two new faces at the council, and this should be a good thing,” Bownes said. “We'll see where we can go from here.”
Teachers received a new contract this year that brings their salaries to a more competitive level, and Bownes said he wants to see how that plays out.
Mayor Ed Engler, Ward 3 City Councilor Henry Lipman and Ward 5 City Councilor Robert Hamel faced no opposition on the ballot.
Laconia was one of 10 New Hampshire cities with keno on the ballot Tuesday.
The Legislature passed a bill this year allowing keno in cities and towns if approved by local voters. The game is for establishments with liquor licenses, with net revenue going toward funding full-day kindergarten.
Accepting arguments that keno would be good for business and produce money for education, local residents approved the game for establishments with liquor licenses, 713-606.
About 50 such businesses could qualify in Laconia. Net revenue will go toward funding full-day kindergarten.
Proponents said the game would be good for business, because patrons tend to stay longer and order more food and drinks while they are playing. Opponents pointed to the problem of gambling addiction and said the odds of winning big at the game are astronomical.
In a lone contested school board race in the election, incumbent Stacie Sirois defeated Rodney Roy, 82-41, in Ward 5.
“I'm excited to be on the school board and to be able to see how the teacher contract goes and what we can build on from there,” she said.
Bruce Cheney and Susan Hodgkins, both candidates for the open Ward 1 seat on Laconia City Council, greeted voters at the polls yesterday. Both won their races. (Adam Drapcho/Laconia Daily Sun)
Mark Haynes, who defeated incumbent Brenda Baer in the Ward 4 City Council race, poses with his wife, Deb, in City Hall on Tuesday night. (Rick Green/Laconia Daily Sun)
- Written by Rick Green
- Category: Local News
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