By Paul Feely New Hampshire Union Leader
MANCHESTER – Mayoral candidate Joyce Craig has released details of the first policy plan of her 2017 campaign, promising transparency if elected to the Queen City’s corner office.
On Thursday, Craig said her plan aims to make City Hall more transparent and open, saying she believes it “is the best way to serve the people.”
“I want to be fully transparent and accessible to the residents of Manchester,” said Craig in a statement. “Right now, Manchester has a campaign finance system that favors connected developers over regular people. I will fight to reform city campaign finance laws that allow unlimited individual and corporate contributions. I will also hold regular office hours outside of City Hall to make city government more approachable and responsive to the needs of residents.”
Craig’s campaign said she is expected to release additional pieces of her policy plan in coming weeks focused on public safety, education, city management, and economic development.
According to her campaign, Craig’s conversations with Manchester residents shaped the plan.
“Currently, candidates for municipal office can raise unlimited funds from any source,” said Craig. “I want to end the era of Manchester politics where who you know and how much money you have determines your access to City Hall.”
If elected, Craig promises:
– To reform campaign finance to end unlimited contributions to candidates and stop the “pay-to-play culture” at City Hall.
– To encourage and recommend “diverse and experienced” candidates to appointments on city boards.
– To hold regular office hours at schools, businesses, retirement communities, and community centers across Manchester.
– To propose adding open dialogue to public comments at Board of Mayor and Aldermen meetings once a month.
– To provide executive summaries and full contracts for public review in a central location on city website prior to final approval.
– To proactively engage the community with outreach efforts to increase awareness of available city services such as graffiti removal, senior tax exemptions, and economic development opportunities
– To set accountability measures to track and report progress on stated goals to improve education, public safety, and grow the economy.
Craig and incumbent Mayor Ted Gatsas, who went head to head in 2015, finished 1-2 in a primary election last month.
According to official results from City Clerk Matt Normand, Craig finished first with 5,812 votes and Gatsas was second with 4,997.
Gatsas is seeking his fifth term, while Craig is looking to become the first woman to be elected mayor of the Queen City.
In 2015, Gatsas won the mayoral race by 64 votes following a recount.