Northern Pass a top issue for both candidates in Ward 8

  • People enter the Bektash Temple in Concord to vote at the Ward 8 polling location on Tuesday, November 5, 2013. John Tully

Monitor staff
Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Both Ward 8 City Council candidates say they know how important it is to have someone in office who represents their constituency, and they both think they’re it.

On one hand there’s Gail Matson, a 55-year-old single working mother of two college-age children, who moved to New Hampshire from Maine to attend St. Anselm College in Manchester. Matson has served Ward 8 as a city councilor since 2013.

“I believe I am representative of the people in my ward,” Matson said at a recent Monitor candidates forum. “I am middle-class, I work hard for a living, I am financially conservative and socially accepting.”

Then there’s Dennis Soucy, 67, a retired veteran who has lived in the ward for 35 years.

“It seems like everybody knows me,” Soucy said in an interview. “I could go walk Loudon Road at any given time and everyone would know my name.”

Soucy said he supports the city’s Main Street revitalization effort, but says it’s time Concord spread the money and projects to other parts of Concord.

“We have a beautiful downtown Concord, but I don’t think all the money should be spent downtown,” he said. “We ought to distribute it more throughout all 10 wards.”

A way to do that, Soucy said, is invest in more development in Ward 8 on Loudon road, possibly near the Steeplegate Mall.

“We have plenty of room in Ward 8 for commercial growth,” he said. “That would be the way to go to lower our taxes and keep people happy.”

Matson has said the Main Street project helps all wards of the city by making Concord a more attractive location for families and businesses.

“It’s not simply about Main Street, but what that has done is set the stage for us, so that we are in a position to capitalize on the work we have done, on the gains we’ve made and to try to build off our momentum.”

A top priority for Matson is the proposed Northern Pass project and how it will affect the city. Matson currently serves as chairwoman on the Northern Pass subcommittee.

Placing the 165-foot towers in close proximity to homes and businesses concerns Matson. The towers hold lines that carry power from Quebec.

“If the state evaluation committee decides to go forward with this project, it would seriously impact many residents throughout Ward 8 in a negative way,” Matson said.

Matson’s committee submitted a report to the city council recommending the project be buried throughout Concord.

In this regard, Soucy and Matson agree.

“Hopefully they’re going to bury it,” Soucy said.

On the gambling game keno, both Matson and Soucy said that it’s a decision best put to voters.

Soucy said he knows that people are going to gamble no matter what is decided – and they might as well do it in Concord.

“I’d rather keep the money here,” he said.

(Leah Willingham can be reached at 369-3322, lwillingham@cmonitor.com or on Twitter @LeahMWillingham.)