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Gail Matson looks to get involved in Ward 8

  • Gail Matson<br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Gail Matson

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • Gail Matson<br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Gail Matson

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • Gail Matson<br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

    Gail Matson

    (ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

  • Gail Matson<br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Gail Matson<br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)
  • Gail Matson<br/><br/>(ANDREA MORALES / Monitor staff)

Gail Matson has never been involved in city government, but she said she is ready to learn.

The 51-year-old Garvins Falls Road resident is running for a seat on the city council in Ward 8, against Dennis Soucy and incumbent Councilor Dick Patten.

“I’m starting to believe that as opportunities arise to me, I have to be seriously considering them, even if they are outside my comfort zone,” she said in an interview with the Monitor. “So that’s why I’m here. I am now trying something completely new.”

Matson works for the state’s insurance department, and said her professional experience would translate well to working on the city council. She is on the board of governors for the New Hampshire Automobile Insurance Plan, previously served as a board member of the Merrimack Valley Auto Theft Investigators Association and is active in her church.

“I am very used to being very prepared for the various board meetings that I’ve done,” she said, comparing that work to serving on the city council. “I get a packet of information, I take some time and make sure that I know what’s going on and make sure I’ve listened to all my emails and phone messages and get back to people and go from there.”

Matson said she was not familiar with the proposed project to reduce Loudon Road from four lanes to three lanes with a center median. But she said she would be interested in addressing traffic problems along Loudon Road and Manchester Street.

“I do know that there are definitely some congestion problems with peak hours and people feeding in from side streets,” she said.

Officials cleared homeless camps on private and state-owned land downtown this fall, and Matson said some homeless camps have moved near Garvins Falls Road, where she lives. She said the homeless camps do not appear to be causing problems in that area, but she expressed concern that those campers are now walking hours to reach services downtown.

Concord should address the issue of homelessness with compassion and a focus on long-term goals, Matson said. Clearing the camps moved the homeless out of sight, she said, but did not address the underlying issues.

“Well, it doesn’t make it go away, you know what I mean?” she said of the relocated camps. “You can’t pretend it’s not happening.”

Matson said she hopes the Main Street redesign project moves forward as planned. She said she would also be in favor of a community center at the former Dame School, especially if it offered programs for children through partnerships with other organizations.

“I get the sense there might be some of the population there (on the Heights) that doesn’t have cars and maybe they’re not as mobile as they could be, and so accessing services from other areas of the town might be difficult, whereas if they were located in that community center that would certainly meet a need,” she said.

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

Related

Meet the Ward 8 city council candidates

Monday, November 4, 2013

Three candidates are running this fall to represent Ward 8 on the Concord City Council. Dick Patten, a three-term incumbent, is running against newcomers Gail Matson and Dennis Soucy. …

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