To The Daily Sun,
A state representative working with the local selectboards and the people can actually achieve the will of the people, despite seemingly impossible odds.
A perfect example is the recent collaboration between state Rep. Valerie Fraser, the selectboards of Center Harbor and New Hampton, as well as the people.
Early in 2015, the state Department of Transportation announced plans to remove the historic bridge connecting Center Harbor and New Hampton, known locally as Mosquito Bridge, and replace it with a modern structure. The people of both towns did not want to see the local rural atmosphere needlessly destroyed. They said repair, not replace.
The people turned to their respective selectmen and Rep. Valerie Fraser for help.
On Oct. 26, 2015, the Governor's Council and NHDOT held a public hearing at the historic Belknap Mill in Laconia. Its purpose was to take testimony from the people and public officials relative to the 10-year program for roads and bridges. Both towns were represented by their selectmen and Rep. Fraser, who spoke on behalf of both towns. During her presentation that was brief and to the point, Councilor Joe Kenny listened and took notes and high-level DOT officials including Assistant Commissioner Cass, did likewise. It was very clear that her constituents did not want a modern-era bridge that would destroy the rural atmosphere and strongly desired repair, and not replacement.
DOT had planned a public hearing several weeks before on Oct. 27 at the New Hampton Public Safety Building. It was attended by selectmen from both towns and Rep. Fraser. The DOT project manager presented the original bridge removal plan to the at least 100 people in attendance. It was strongly rejected by the people.
There were two other individuals present that likely would not been had it not for the strong presence the night before by Center Harbor and New Hampton officials and particularly Rep. Fraser. These were Councilor Kenney and Assistant Commissioner Cass, both of whom saw the need to solve this situation.
There were three more productive meetings, all open to the public, one to identify all issues, another for DOT to present potential solutions, which they did in a very professional manner and the third to present these solutions, which were approved by vote by of the people. Rep. Fraser attend all three meetings
A forth meeting is planned for spring, 2017.
I participated in this project as a civilian. I am impressed by Rep. Frasers' intelligence, sense of duty and responsibly to her constituents, and her common sense.
I will be voting as a citizen of Center Harbor to re-elect Valerie Fraser.
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