Outgoing Concord Mayor Jim Bouley named Citizen of the Year

​​​​​By JAMIE L. COSTA

Monitor staff

Published: 09-22-2023 4:41 PM

In his waning days as the city’s mayor, Jim Bouley will become the 104th recipient of Concord’s Citizen of the Year award.

As the longest-serving mayor in Concord’s history, Bouley has advocated for the city and its residents on a local, state and national level. He facilitated the renovation of downtown Concord, supported economic development and helped establish homeless shelters in the city, among other things cited by the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce in announcing the award. 

“It’s such a surprise but I am incredibly flattered,” Bouley said Friday. “It might be me who is named, but it’s not just me. It’s where we have been, what we have done and recognition of all city employees, my family, my friends and my work colleagues.”

Bouley, a partner at the public affairs firm Dennehy and Bouley, served as a city councilor for 10 years followed by 16 years as mayor. He announced his decision not to run for re-election in August through an emotional speech at the end of the monthly council meeting.

Public service is something that has always been important to the Bouley family, he said, starting with his parents’ involvement in the school district before their retirement. Their actions inspired Bouley to get involved. 

“If you see something you don’t think is fair or right, it’s better to immerse yourself and get involved instead of blaming someone else or pointing fingers,” Bouley said. “If you want to change something, step up and get involved.”

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In its announcement, the chamber recognized Bouley’s support of the revitalization of downtown Concord, which permanently transformed the city’s landscape by creating a bustling shopping district that attracts visitors, supports small businesses and provides better access for pedestrians and cyclists. 

Projects like the I-93 expansion and other state-funded initiatives wouldn’t have been made possible without Bouley’s ability to address complex challenges, find practical solutions and foster professional and personal relationships with the state, the federal government, the school districts, Merrimack County and city residents, the chamber said. 

“As big as that [downtown] is and as much of an impact that has had on the community, some of the smaller successes mean equally as much to me,” Bouley said. “The opportunity to help someone get through the process of city government or make connections with people to help their family, children or business is equally as satisfying.”

His leadership has helped advance the community’s standing in the State of New Hampshire, transformed Concord’s footprint to support a thriving economy and made an everlasting impact on the city’s quality of life, the chamber’s said. 

The chamber also cited Bouley’s softer side when he would go out of his way to solve a problem for a resident.

“His approach to addressing a citizen’s concern is not just to call them back, but also to stop by their home or business to hear more about their issue,” the chamber said. “For one particular resident in Concord, it meant climbing into a basement to view sewage seeping into the building, and making a weekend call to General Services to resolve the issue.”

Concord City Manager Tom Aspell worked with Bouley for more than 20 years.

“I can unequivocally testify to his commitment to utilize every available opportunity to improve the community for all of its residents, businesses, and visitors,” Aspell said.

Bouley will be presented the Chamber’s Citizen of the Year award on Nov. 1 at the Grappone Conference Center at 5 p.m. Anyone who would like to attends can sign up via the chamber’s website www.concordnhchamber.com or by emailing events@concordnhchamber.com or calling 603-227-2508.

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