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Liz Blanchard won’t seek re-election to Concord City Council

Editorial review board with City Councilor Liz Blanchard; Thursday, October 20, 2011. <br/><br/>(Alexander Cohn/ Monitor Staff)

Editorial review board with City Councilor Liz Blanchard; Thursday, October 20, 2011.

(Alexander Cohn/ Monitor Staff)

City Councilor Liz Blanchard will not seek another term representing Penacook.

“It’s kind of time I stepped down,” she said in an interview yesterday. “I’ve got a few things on my bucket list before I get too old.”

The 74-year-old announced at Monday’s council meeting that she will step down at the end of her current term. She has represented Ward 1 on the city council for more than a decade.

Blanchard is the first councilor to announce her plans for this November’s election, and two Penacook residents said yesterday they plan to run for her seat: Brent Todd, whom Blanchard has endorsed, and Adam Czarkowski, who lost a close race with Blanchard in 2011.

Blanchard served on the city council in the late 1980s and returned to represent Ward 1 in 2002. She is also a Merrimack County Commissioner and has served as a state representative. She has fought against cuts to the Penacook branch library and advocated for the redevelopment of the former Allied Leather Tannery site.

“So I’ve done my duty,” she said. “And I think Penacook, well, it’s in a better place than it was a few years ago. And I think we’re on the cusp of revitalization.”

One thing Blanchard would still like to see in Penacook village: a grocery store.

“We need a grocery store, there’s no question,” she said. “And where it will be located is in the future, obviously. But nevertheless, that will happen eventually, I think.”

After stepping down from the council, Blanchard said she hopes to spend more time with her 14 grandchildren and five great-grandchildren, and at her second home in York Beach, Maine.

“I’ve warned my children I’m going to live to be 100,” she said.

Blanchard said yesterday she plans to help Todd campaign for the Ward 1 council seat.

“I think Brent Todd really has Penacook’s interests at heart, and he and I seem to be on the same page,” she said.

Todd, 49, said yesterday he is honored Blanchard chose to endorse him.

“She’s a power house, and she’s a real tribute to the community that she serves,” he said. “She’s done an excellent job, in my opinion, over the years.”

Czarkowski, 35, also plans to run in Ward 1 this fall. He said he ran against Blanchard two years ago because he believes voters should have a choice, and he looks forward to another contested race.

“I really enjoyed getting out and speaking to the people and community in 2011, and also I spent the past two years really trying to get involved,” he said.

Both Todd and Czarkowski said they are active members of the Penacook Village Association.

Todd is a member of the city’s Transportation Policy Advisory Committee and the Penacook Village Tax Increment Finance District Advisory Board. He is also the board president of Concord 250, an organization that is planning a 250th birthday celebration for the city in 2015.

Candidates can begin to file to run Sept. 6. Each of the 10 ward councilor seats will be up for election. So will the mayor’s office and the at-large councilor positions now held by Dan St. Hilaire and Michael DelloIacono.

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

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