LACONIA — When Dan Lasata moved to Laconia seven years ago he saw problems. Today he says he sees potential. That opportunity for positive growth is a big reason that Lasata has decided to run for City Council.
Lasata is one of three candidates competing for the Ward 4 seat now held by Mark Haynes, who is running for re-election. The third candidate is Marc Forgione Sr., who like Lasata, is making his first bid for public office.
Whoever are the top two vote-getters in the Sept. 14 primary will go on to be on the ballot for the municipal election on Nov. 2.
“When I moved back to (the area in 2013) I found it a little sad. There were a lot of vacant storefronts downtown,” Lasata said. “But now I see that the city has potential that hasn’t been unlocked.”
Lasata, 42, grew up in Gilmanton. He attended Bishop Brady High School in Concord for three years, and played on the school’s football team. In his senior year he transferred to Gilford High School where he graduated. He went on to attend Champlain College and New Hampshire Technical Institute.
He presently works as a project manager to T.J. McCartney, a drywall contractor for large-scale projects in the Greater Boston area. But earlier in his career he worked as an assistant golf pro at two country clubs in the state, and then moved on to doing skateboard art while he was living in St. Petersburg, Florida.
While in St. Petersburg, he was active in a non-profit organization of independent, local businesses which acted as a voice for those businesses and to promote the importance of buying local.
He believes the opening of the restored Colonial Theatre and Lakeport Opera House could be a springboard to making Laconia a destination for a variety of cultural and entertainment events.
“There could be more cultural events focusing more on the arts,” he said.
Lasata, who is married and has sons aged 4 and 8, recently helped establish The Laconia Skate-board a nonprofit organization that helped to support the new skatepark in the city.
He said having a variety of recreational activities outlets for youth needs to be a major priority for the city. He also pledged to support the needs of the Police Department and “those who keep us safe.”
Lasata is troubled by what he sees as the incursion of partisan political ideology into local government.
“We’re becoming polarized by partisan politics,” he said. “I’m open. I’m not partisan.”
Lasata said he is dismayed by the behavior of some who have come to School Board meetings in recent months, alleging the school system is teaching critical race theory, a charge school officials strongly deny.
“There is nothing constructive that is coming out of them,” he said. Instead, he continued, “We need to address what happened to our kids in the past two years” when students had to switch to remote and hybrid learning. “We need to refocus on the needs of our children.”
Lasata believes open-mindedness is key if the city is to have a successful future.
“We have got to start somewhere in the middle,” he said.