Living in New Hampshire, it's easy to get caught up in the swirl of presidential candidates coming through our state. They are all here, being followed around by press, staff, security, fans, protesters, etc... It seems like no matter where we look or go, someone is somewhere because of our primary. It's fabulous and can be almost surreal at times. But, lest we forget, only one of these people is going to be president. Only two of them will end up with their party nomination. In the mean time, we have a few others running for office:
One senator:Kelly Ayotte's (R) term is up and she will be running for re-election.
Two congressional seats:Frank Guinta (R) and Annie Kuster (D) are both at the end of their terms.
One governor: Maggie Hassan's (D) term is up. She is running for U.S. Senate, and Republicans Chris Sununu and Frank Edelblut are declared to run for that office.
State Senators, State Reps, Executive Councilors, Selectmen, School Voards ... and yes, mayors.
There is a very important mayoral election on Tuesday, Oct. 6. I would never seek to diminish the importance of the presidential election. It is critical to get our country on track that we put strength and leadership back into that office.
But, our towns and our cities are important. They are just as important and governance begins at home.
I live 20 minutes from Franklin, so you might think I don't have the proverbial "horse in the race", but nothing could be further from the truth. Our communities in New Hampshire are small and very intertwined. Things that happen in cities and towns even an hour or two away are inextricably tied to things that happen right in our back yards.
So, let's talk a little bit about Franklin. It is one of the smaller cities in New Hampshire with a population of right around 9,000. It's a lovely and historic community sitting right where the Pemigewasset and Winnipesaukee Rivers come together to form the Merrimack. Like so many cities and towns in New Hampshire, it's afflicted with some crumbling privately owned buildings and a heroin problem. So, why do I care and why should you?
I care because these things overflow into the surrounding communities. And I care because I've watched the current mayor working so hard and making so much progress to combat these problems that I want to see him continue and I want to be able to watch other communities emulate his success.
You see, Ken Merrifield actually cares. This isn't about him. It's about Franklin. It's about the city he loves and calls home. It's about the Opera House that's now attracting regional favorites and selling out shows. It's about taking the time to involve the children and teenagers of the community in positive activities. It's about reaching out to seniors by being involved in Meals on Wheels. It's about a non-partisan relationship with all of the residents of Franklin and working to make this the best small city in New Hampshire. Working together.
I've only known Ken for about a year now, but I knew of him well before them. One of the things that I found out a few months back, and that came as a total surprise to me, is that Ken actually has a full-time job in addition to being the mayor of Franklin. Frankly, I'm not sure how he manages to get a 60 hour day when the rest of us only get 24, but he must because with everything he does for the city, there is just no way he could be accomplishing it within the time constraints that the laws of physics place on the rest of us.
So Franklin friends, get out and vote on Tuesday. You're lucky to have Ken Merrifield working for you. Vote so you can keep him there. And everyone else, don't forget those folks who are working locally for you.
- Category: Letters
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