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Concord Elections: City Council At-Large


Saturday, October 21, 2017

Editor’s note: Candidates were asked to fill out a questionnaire for inclusion in the Oct. 22 Sunday Monitor. Candidates were asked to answer questions 1-3 with short remarks no longer than a sentence in length. They were asked to keep answers to questions 4 and 5 to fewer than 100 words each. Submissions were edited for print publication, but are published in full at concordmonitor.com.  Their answers are below.

Amanda Grady Sexton


Address: 195 Mountain Road

Occupation: Advocate for Victims of Crime

Family: Adam, husband; Samuel, age 5; Scarlett, age 3

Public office held: 2 terms as Ward 4 City Councilor and 1 term as City Councilor At-Large

Website: https://www.facebook.com/603Amanda/

Are you happy with the city’s return on investment for the amount it taxes residents?

Yes, I’m proud to serve on a City Council that works to maintain an affordable community while providing numerous high quality services.

Should Concord give the public information or hold a public hearing before approving labor contracts?

Yes, it’s important to provide transparency in all aspects of government and to maintain the public’s trust.

Given Concord is the only municipality in New Hampshire with an autonomous school board, do you think the city council or mayor should have veto power over school district spending?

No, the system works well when both bodies maintain frequent communication and work toward shared goals for the community.

What’s the biggest issue facing the city?

I believe that Concord’s biggest challenge is finding ways to reduce the tax burden on our residents. I believe the best way to accomplish this is by continuing to expand and diversify our tax base through economic development projects that meet the social, environmental, and cultural needs of Concord.

Why should voters choose you on election day? 

During my time on the Council, I have helped pass eight balanced budgets to lower the tax burden for Concord families, to maintain the city’s excellent bond rating, to enhance its repaving program, to bring improvements to Main Street, to designate open space areas aimed at protecting the environment, to implement smart growth policies, to increase recreational and cultural activities for young professionals, families and seniors, and to improve public safety in our community. I love living and raising a family in Concord, and I love serving our community. If re-elected, I want to continue working with the mayor and my fellow councilors to make our city the best it can be, and to keep Concord moving forward.

Fred Keach


Address: 11 Concord Street

Age: 55

Occupation: Small business owner

Family: 3 adult children

Public office: Currently City Councilor at large, formerly Ward 10 Councilor. Serving my 10th year on the council.

Are you happy with the city’s return on investment for the amount it taxes residents?

I believe the city’s return on investment of tax dollars is good. However, I am continually frustrated with yearly increases in the tax rate as the result of the state’s downshifting of costs to local municipalities. Given the current situation, I believe this council has done a prudent and reasonable job with our local budget. It is important to maintain our infrastructure and continually reinvest in our community. Communities that lack that priority quickly fail to attract both housing and commercial development. Lastly, the city’s budget is largely driven by labor costs. Attracting and retaining quality city employees is important and expensive. But, again, a wise investment in our community.

Should Concord give the public information or hold a public hearing before approving labor contracts?

I certainly would not be opposed to holding public hearings on the approval of labor contracts. The more public input the better. Over the past several years, both the city and the unions were very much aware of the challenging economic conditions and negotiated in a way that was reflective of that situation. The taxpayers should always be heard with regard to the spending of their dollars.

Given Concord is the only municipality in New Hampshire with an autonomous school board, do you think the city council or mayor should have veto power over school district spending?

I would not be opposed to allowing the city veto power over the school board budget. I believe that over the 10 years I have been involved with the council, the school board has worked closely and collaboratively with the city when crafting their budget. There has been an understanding that the two budgets impact each other. Having said that, that might not always be the case and perhaps there should be some discussion about an mechanism that would ensure a coordination of the boards.

What’s the biggest issue facing the city?

I believe the biggest issue facing the city would be public safety. I spent several years working as a police officer in Portland, Maine, and know first hand that the key to maintaining public safety is proactive policing. When policing becomes reactive, neighborhoods are negatively effected, crime increases and overall quality of life suffers. Tied closely to this is the lack of adequate mental health resources. The lack of mental health resources adversely affects many aspects of our community that include homelessness, crime, an over burdened EMS and a hospital emergency department that has unfairly and inadequately become the de facto solution for those affected. Again a failure at the state level to provide such services.

Why should voters choose you on election day?

I believe the voters of Concord should vote for me on election day as I have a proven track record for being responsive to the voters. I have made difficult fiscal discussions for investment in the city while always being mindful of the impact to the taxpayer. I am here to listen, advocate and take the long view in the direction the city is headed. I have never been about short term gains or solutions, but instead view my job as a councilor to vote strategically with long term goals in mind. We are fortunate to have a professional and effective management team in place in the manager’s office. It is my position that you hold your manager accountable and let he or she do their job in executing council policy and objectives. Lastly, I will strongly advocate for increased commercial development, as a broadening of the commercial tax base is the single most important factor in stabilizing the residential tax rate.