LACONIA — Ward 4 City Councilor Mark Haynes believes that one of the biggest lessons he has learned in his four years on the council is the value of working to find common ground with other members of the council.
Haynes is running for his third term on the six-member council. He is facing two challengers: Dan Lasata and Marc Forgione, who are both making their first bids for public office. The top two vote-getters in the Sept. 14 primary will go on to compete in the Nov. 2 municipal election.
“It’s healthy,” Haynes said of the three-way race, “and I will support whoever wins.”
Haynes has lived in Ward 4 his whole life and has served as ward election moderator for the past 13 years. For 24 years he was facilities manager at the Laconia Clinic.
Haynes sees the main priorities ahead as furthering the revitalization of the downtown, and to supporting efforts to promote the city as a destination for tourists and other visitors.
He believes success in these and other efforts can best be achieved by focusing on the issues and avoiding partisan politics. He says that is what his constituents are looking for as well.
“The majority of citizens are interested in making sure that (the city) will be in good hands,” he said.
Haynes sees the resurgence of commercial activity in downtown as a welcome development and crucial to the city’s overall prosperity.
In addition to the downtown, Haynes also says the city needs to be actively engaged in the move to redevelop the long-idle Laconia State School complex.
“We need to participate in the way that that area is developed,” Haynes said.
For three years an ad-hoc volunteer commission, created by the Legislature, has been working to get the property to where it can be marketed to one or more private developers. However, that effort has been complicated by a recent addendum to the state budget which gives the governor broad authority to sell the property without regard or consideration of any work the commission has done. City officials fear that this maneuver will hurt the long-term interests of the city which has been hoping for a comprehensive development plan which would include residential and commercial uses.
As important as economic development is to Haynes, he noted there are other issues that require attention as well.
The future of the city’s Public Works facility on Bisson Avenue needs to be evaluated, and how the city will provide trash collection in the future will require careful consideration.
Haynes believes that he has demonstrated how to address issues like these comprehensively and thoughtfully during his four years on the council.
While agreeing that he is not as vocal as some of his colleagues at council meetings, Haynes says he is diligent to examine closely all the items on the agenda before coming to the council meetings, whether that is having in-depth discussions with the city manager or the head of a department that has an issue coming before the council.
“People don’t always see the amount of time people put in behind the scenes, “ he said.
He said the others on the council come to the meetings prepared as well and that dedication works to the benefit of the city and its residents.
“When everyone has done their homework we can get consensus,” he said.
“I think you learn a lot by listening,” he said. “I want to hear what other people have to say.”