Joyce Craig, the mayoral candidate running against incumbent Ted Gatsas, has received the endorsement of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) locals 490 and 2320. The two IBEW locals have a membership exceeding 350 workers, including electricians, linemen, and other employees in the building trades and electric utilities, as well as workers in the computer and telecommunications industries.
Craig currently is finishing her third, two-year term on the Board of Mayor and Aldermen (BOMA) after serving two terms on the School Board Committee. She is the only candidate currently running for mayor who has been elected to both bodies. The mayor of Manchester serves as the chair of both BOMA and the School Committee.
IBEW Local 490 Business Manager Denis Beaudoin praised Craig for being a “strong advocate for the priorities of working families in Manchester.” In his message endorsing Craig, Beaudoin went on to say, “She is a proven consensus builder who understands the true potential of Manchester and the importance of prioritizing education, combating the drug epidemic on multiple fronts, and fixing our roads and infrastructure, and has consistently displayed this during her years of public service.”
Alderman Craig has often hearkened for the need for leadership in the mayor’s office, such as in an editorial published by the Union Leader earlier in the year. In that editorial, Craig faulted Mayor Gatsas for his poor stewardship of the public school system, which caused the loss of students from the neighboring town of Hooksett.
Hooksett had sent students to Manchester schools for 100 years, but balked at continuing the relationship due to the dysfunctions, including expanded class size, caused by the layoffs of teachers triggered by Gatsas’ financial policy. Craig also criticized the mayor for failing to tackle the issues of deteriorating roads and a huge increase in crime. She cited the 2014 budget that she authored and that was passed by BOMA for putting more police officers on the street as the kind of leadership needed by Manchester.
Referencing her 15 years in the private sector, Beaudoin also touched on the issue of leadership. “She has proven her leadership skills as a marketing executive, School Board member, and Alderman. It is time Manchester had a leader who understands the needs of working families, and that is why we are supporting Alderman Craig’s campaign for mayor of Manchester.”
Craig and Gatsas also have clashed over how to handle the surging heroin crisis in the Queen City. During a BOMA meeting in June, Gatsas denigrated Craig’s call to use a more cooperative approach towards asking for help from the Hillsborough County legislative delegation to establish a drug court benefiting Manchester. Craig had recommended that BOMA offer to put up $120,050 towards the $443,000 cost of a drug court for northern Hillsborough County. Gatsas rebuffed her efforts and, in turn, was rebuffed by the County delegation, leaving Manchester without a drug court.
In his endorsement message, IBEW Local 490 Business Manager Steven Soule said, “This is a critical election and it is important we have a candidate who cares about working people in our city. Joyce has a vision to grow our city and plans to improve our schools, curb the heroin epidemic, and improve Manchester’s local infrastructure. Her ability to work with others and find compromise is precisely what is needed in the mayor’s office.”
Craig said that she was honored to receive the endorsements of IBEW Local 490 and IBEW Local 2320. “As mayor, I will continue to stand up for and protect Manchester workers and residents,” she said in her own statement. She touched on another theme of her campaign, that she would use a more collaborative style as mayor than Ted Gatsas had used in his nearly six years of dealing with BOMA.
“Over the past six years, we have seen the Mayor bully his way through School Board meetings, refuse to engage with other stakeholders to combat the drug epidemic, and ignore our failing infrastructure,” Craig said. “It is time Manchester reached its potential and I will be the leader to unite our city to combat the drug epidemic, improve our schools, and protect Manchester workers and families.”