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Questions for the candidates: Concord Ward 2, Erle Pierce

Published: 10/25/2019 2:06:23 PM

Erle Pierce, who is running for the Concord City Council for the first time, is unopposed in Ward 2. All other unopposed ward races are held by incumbents and were not included in our questionnaire.

Erle Pierce

How long have you lived in Concord? I moved to the area in 1986. I moved to Florida in 2014 to care for a sick relative. I moved back in 2017 and have been a Concord resident since then.

Profession: I began my professional life with New England Telephone as a union represented technician in Burlington, Vermont. After 35 years of service, I retired from Verizon in 2007 as New Hampshire’s VP for Public Affairs. My responsibilities while with Verizon included small and large group management of employees; capital and operational expense budgeting; strategic business planning; community, media, and public relations; government and regulatory affairs, and corporate philanthropy. In 2008, I created my own consulting business with a focus on government affairs initiatives related primarily to energy and telecommunications issues. I am now fully retired.

Other experience: I currently serve on the City’s Planning Board and I have volunteered in the Concord area for more than 30 years. I learned much about the business, residential, and non-profit communities through service on local boards and more direct involvement with organizations directly serving our community of children and adults. I have been a youth sport coach, Scout Leader, food pantry volunteer, president of Concord High School Friends of Music, and a volunteer at my church. I am also a past member of The Upper Merrimack River Local Advisory Committee. I have served as board chair of the Greater Concord Chamber, Capitol Center for the Arts, and Touch the Future, an organization associated with the McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center. I served as a Commissioner for the NH State Council on the Arts and for The McAuliffe-Shepard Discovery Center.  I was also an advisory board member for Bi-State Community Health, the Small Business Development Center, and Bellwether Credit Union.

What two issues are most important to you, and what would you do to address them?

The number one issue on the minds of Ward 2 voters with whom I have spoken is the maintenance of roads, especially the condition of Bog Road from Fisherville to Riverhill. As Bog Road is actually sinking, it would take all of the city’s annual road repaving budget to fix it! I will work with the city manager and Council to devise a plan that would allow for partial reconstruction over an acceptable period of time. After all, Bog Road is not going anywhere and the longer we wait, the more expensive repairs will likely be.

The second issue I hear about most often is the tax rate. There are many residents of Ward 2 who send their children to the Merrimack Valley School District, and the disparity in school tax rates ($5.41 per thousand more for MVSD than CSD) is always a topic of discussion. Of course, the city tax rate is the same for all Concord residents and while both school districts have their own taxing authorities, the City Council has no control over the school tax rates. What the city can do though, is continue their work in expanding the tax base so as to relieve the tax burden on residents. Efforts to expand the business tax base in the Village of Penacook have been ongoing and I applaud the City Council and Ward 1 Councilor Brent Todd for their focus on the many initiatives in that village of Concord. If elected, I will work with the Council to continue the expansion of the tax base throughout the city and to couple those efforts with sensible municipal spending. All this being said, I feel what we need most in this city is an increase in voter turnout. As elected officials, it is our job to listen and to take into account our constituents’ thoughts and comments. Ward 2 has a historically low voter turnout. I would very much like to see our Ward 2 voters reverse that trend and get out and vote at all elections, including those for school board.

What voice/skills do you add to city government?

Throughout my professional, volunteer, and personal life, I have prided myself in telling people (almost always in a gentle way) where I stand on issues. I always try to listen respectfully and while many of us have the same goals, we may just have different ideas on how to get those goals accomplished. I know how to cooperatively work with a group of individuals to achieve our common goals.

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