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Amanda Grady Sexton looks to expand constituent work

Amanda Grady Sexton, city council candidate. Editorial board on October 8, 2013 at the Concord Monitor. <br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

Amanda Grady Sexton, city council candidate. Editorial board on October 8, 2013 at the Concord Monitor.

(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

Amanda Grady Sexton’s favorite part of being a city councilor is responding to residents’ concerns.

“I get a lot of calls, period,” she told the Monitor’s editorial board. “. . . I think when you are responsive and people know that you’re willing to help, they rely on you for that. And that’s my job.”

After two terms as the Ward 4 city councilor, Grady Sexton is running for an at-large seat this fall. She said she was ready to serve constituents in the entire city.

Grady Sexton, 34, works as director of public policy for the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. She said she likes working on the nonpartisan city council because “the majority of the time, people agree on what’s best for Concord.”

This spring, Grady Sexton advocated for her neighborhood after a young girl was sexually assaulted in her bedroom in the middle of the night, allegedly by a man who attended sex offender counseling at a nearby treatment center on Beacon Street. She asked city officials to look into the counseling center’s zoning exception to operate in a residential neighborhood. The city’s zoning administrator revoked the property’s special exception for RTT Associates in June, though the center has not yet moved out of the building.

“It’s been really upsetting to the neighborhood,” Grady Sexton said. “I get calls every other day for updates. I try to keep neighbors as updated as possible.”

Grady Sexton said she supported the upcoming redesign of Main Street; she served on a committee last fall that developed recommendations about the project. While work is scheduled to begin next year, she said the city must continue listening to downtown merchants to help them survive construction.

“I think in the end there’s no question my mind that this is the right thing to do, but I’m worried in the meantime what this is going to look like in the process,” she said. “I’d be really concerned if I were a business owner.”

On state plans to build a new women’s prison in Concord, Grady Sexton said the city should work with the state and ask for more support. She suggested the state could move the Shea Farm women’s halfway house out of Concord, since the prison is moving in.

Grady Sexton cited research that shows the families of female prisoners tend to relocate to the city where the women are incarcerated, and said that could be a strain on social services in Concord. As the state capital, she said, the city already has more residents who are homeless or struggling with mental health problems and substance abuse than elsewhere in the state.

“We need to address this or we’re just going to continue to throw Band-Aids on it,” she said. “I think that Concord is disproportionately affected, and we need to gear up and start speaking with the state on this as well.”

As an at-large councilor, Grady Sexton said she would also like to put extra effort into redeveloping Penacook.

“If we plant the seeds now, I think we could see a revitalization down there,” she said.

Grady Sexton voted in favor of a federal grant to purchase an armored police vehicle this year. But she said she has received more phone calls from residents about other issues than the vote about the BearCat, which drew hundreds of protesters to the city council chambers.

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

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Meet the at-large city council candidates

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Five candidates are campaigning for two at-large city council seats this fall. They are: Samantha Clattenburg; Timothy Willis; Scott Welch; current Ward 10 Councilor Fred Keach; and current Ward 4 Councilor Amanda Grady Sexton. A sixth candidate, Josh VanBuskirk said he was not campaigning and learned it was too late to remove his name from the ballot. Two of the … 0

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