Opinion: The candidates Concord needs now


Published: 10-10-2023 5:00 PM

Carisa Corrow of Penacook is co-author of “126 Falsehoods We Believe About Education” and founder of Educating for Good.

While Concord is a great little city with much to offer, it’s not perfect. We have some complicated issues that need to be addressed including affordable housing, transportation, the effects of a changing environment, all while ensuring all our young people are thriving so that future Concord is set up for success.

The best people to tackle these issues are the ones who are most intricately connected to them and have been working, sometimes in the background, as humble volunteers, networkers and doers.

And if you look carefully, you’ll see them as the ones continuously rolling up their sleeves to set up a community event; they are cleaning up, organizing to help a neighbor, fundraising for social causes, as well as supporting and promoting the good work of others. They know the city well and the regular people in it because they’ve connected with them with a true sense of community.

The more authentic and diverse network a councilor has to get input on an issue, the better. It’s great to know the developers and the bigger business owners, but those people are going to lift up their voices for what they need and want regardless.

We need city leaders who will actively seek out the voices of those who don’t have the time, resources, energy and sometimes know how to advocate for their needs. Many of the candidates already have this network, because they’ve been supporting the Concord community long before considering a run for office.

There’s a difference between someone who commits to working with everyone if elected, and folks who already have positive relationships with our diverse population in Concord. Which candidates actually know veterans and regularly talk to them about their needs and hopes? Which candidates understand what it’s like being a working parent in Concord in 2023?

Who understands what it’s like to get around Concord without a car? Which candidates have their feet on the ground walking alongside Concord’s New American community or unhoused population? Which candidates have spoken up for others, even when it’s uncomfortable for some to hear?

This city election, let’s turn the adage “It’s who you know” on its head. Too often, even in our local politics, we put a lot of weight into folks who know this particular person or who have been endorsed or “hand-selected” by that person.

Let’s instead consider voting for folks who because of their many hats, have genuine connections and relationships with all kinds of people, because they walk beside them, navigating the messiness and beauty of life in Concord with them.