LACONIA — Andrew Hosmer sees a lot of positive energy in Laconia. The challenge, he says, is channeling that energy in a way that ensures the city’s prosperity and economic growth.
Hosmer says the opportunity to continue playing a role in Laconia’s evolution is a big reason he decided to seek a second term as mayor.
In laying out the issues facing the city Hosmer expresses the same degree of optimism he showed in his inaugural address in January 2020 when he said, “I view Laconia as a city on the move. And it’s imperative that we maintain this forward momentum.”
Hosmer says that one of the strongest indications that Laconia is on the right track is the burst of economic development in the last few years as exemplified by the restoration of the Colonial Theatre downtown and the Lakeport Opera House. Projects like those and the condominium complex on Union Avenue, and the commercial-residential block on Elm Street, both currently under construction, show that Laconia is a desirable place both to live and do business, the mayor pointed out.
He said the city’s future requires that it continues to attract businesses and entrepreneurs.
“I like the challenges and work on them to make the city better,” Hosmer said.
One of those challenges is for the city to find ways to make the kind of investment that supports business while doing it at a cost which taxpayers can afford.
“I think of taxpayers like customers in private industry,” Hosmer said emphasizing that the public’s support is also critical to the city’s future.
Hosmer, 57, who served in the state Senate from 2012 to 2016 says one big reason he enjoys being in city government is because of the almost total absence of partisan politics.
“Those politics don’t exist,” he said, referring to the City Council, which he, as mayor, chairs. “I don’t know, and I don’t care what the politics of the other people at the table are.”
There was one political flare-up during Hosmer’s term, however.
About one year ago, a brief controversy erupted after Hosmer moved to a house in Gilford. Hosmer said the move was temporary while his main house was being sold and a few weeks later he moved into another residence in Laconia.
Hosmer said he would not be surprised if the issue came up during the campaign.
The issues which Hosmer feels should be the focus of the campaign, however, are continued economic development, the growing problem of homelessness in the city, and the need for “balanced housing” that is affordable to a families across the wide economic spectrum.
“If we want to get younger people in this city or in this state we need to embrace the issue of housing that younger people can afford,” he said.
Hosmer believes a comprehensive redevelopment plan for the Laconia State School complex that includes clustered housing would help to provide more housing options for younger, middle-class people.
Hosmer says that his understanding of the issues plus the relationships he has built with people throughout the city make clear to him that resident want a mayor that they see as attentive and fair.
“They want to be proud that the person who is serving as mayor has values that reflect well on the community,” he said. “I have a sense of empathy and being open-minded.”