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Cassandra Rasmussen looks to gather input in Penacook

  • Cassandra Rasmussen<br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Cassandra Rasmussen

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • Cassandra Rasmussen<br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Cassandra Rasmussen

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • Cassandra Rasmussen<br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Cassandra Rasmussen<br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

Cassandra Rasmussen wants everyone in Penacook to have a say in city government.

“We’re Penacook – a village within Concord, but we’re not Concord,” she said. “And the residents of Penacook, at least the ones I’ve spoken with, have never been to a town meeting, have never been to or had the opportunity to attend meetings,” she said. “So that’s one of the things I really want to focus on, is getting back in touch with the residents.”

Rasmussen, a 30-year-old Lilac Street resident, is running in a three-way race this fall for the city council seat representing Penacook.

The stay-at-home mother of two children with special needs said she “can speak rather well when it comes to other people’s needs.”

Rasmussen said she decided to run for city council after the council’s recent vote to accept federal grant money for an armored BearCat vehicle. She was not pleased with the council’s vote, but said “what’s done is done.” She would, however, like to play a role in overseeing maintenance, storage and use of the BearCat when it arrives in Concord.

In an interview with the Monitor’s editorial board, Rasmussen said her own opinion on issues affecting the city was not important. Instead, she wants to listen to Penacook residents and business owners. If elected, she said she would hold family-friendly meetings in places like her own backyard and gather feedback from as many residents as possible before voting at city council meetings.

“I’m not doing this for me,” she said. “I’m not a politician by any means. . . . I’m a person who is willing to listen to anybody’s views. It doesn’t matter if you’re right in my world, wrong in my world. It doesn’t matter.”

When talking about bringing a grocery store to Penacook or redeveloping the former Allied Leather Tannery site, Rasmussen said she wanted to maintain the village’s “small town charm.”

Rasmussen said the tannery site could be a good place to promote development for small businesses. When asked whether a Fisherville Road location would be a good place for a grocery store, she said she would like to explore the effect on nearby businesses, residents and traffic patterns.

“It’s an idea to maybe bring to the table, hear what Penacook has to say about it before it’s forced in their hands,” she said.

Rasmussen said she does not have an opinion on moving the Penacook branch library, but she would like to explore how it would affect residents, whether a new library would be used and what would become of the current building.

On the issue of homelessness in Concord, Rasmussen said she would come to the city council with understanding and personal experience. More than a decade ago, she was living in a tent in Weare and said she worked to find a job and a home.

“I’ve lived out of my camper, I’ve lived out of my tent,” she said. “And there’s too much ‘We think it needs to be this way’ and too little ‘Let’s see what we can do to make it better.’ ”

BIO:

Age: 30

Street: Lilac Street

Job: Stay-at-home mother

City government experience: None

(Laura McCrystal can be reached at 369-3312 or lmccrystal@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @lmccrystal.)

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Meet the Ward 1 city council candidates

Monday, November 4, 2013

In Penacook, three candidates are running for the city council seat left open by retiring Councilor Liz Blanchard. Ward 1 voters have a choice between Adam Czarkowski, Cassandra Rasmussen and Brent Todd. … 0

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