Ward 2 candidates Michele Horne and Rob Kleiner
|Published: 10-29-2023 12:52 PM
Michele Horne chose to run for Ward 2 Councilor when her oldest daughter left the city for a job opportunity out west, she said.
Rob Kleiner, who is also running for the Ward 2 seat, said the 3,000 housing units expected to be built in the next five to seven years barely scratches the service of what the city needs.
“One of my foremost commitments as a city council candidate is to address the pressing issues of affordable housing. In my view, every individual in our community deserves not only a place to live but a safe and affordable one,” Kleiner said.
During a candidate forum last week at Concord High School, most candidates spoke passionately about bringing more mixed-use, affordable housing to the city, an initiative that could, in turn, help the unhoused.
“Affordable housing is a top issue that also ties into the homelessness crisis as well as our economic development,” Horne said. “The shortage of affordable housing is leading to a critical workforce shortage and causing our younger population to leave the area.”
If elected, Horne said she will work to address land use regulations and zoning ordinances, require developers to build mixed-income housing and create a more diverse housing stock to include single-family and multi-family homes.
With property taxes sky high in the eyes of residents, Horne and Kleiner said they wanted to offer tax relief, but struggled to point out any areas of the city budget that could be reduced.
“I would have a hard time cutting our expenses when a lot of that is general services and public safety. I would like to look at money in other places,” Horne said. “We can apply for more grants, fundraise and partner with the county to share expenses.”
Kleiner agreed and added that the community should work together to reduce waste output through education and composting and convert to more energy efficient tactics.
As the director of operations at Northeast Delta Dental, Kleiner has managerial experience overseeing large budgets and he volunteers frequently throughout the city, an initiative he said has helped him connect with his constituents and identify leaders in the community. He also services on the board of directors for Kimball Jenkins, the New Hampshire Technical Institute, Red River Theaters and the Concord Coalition to End Homelessness.
If elected to represent Ward 2, he would focus on affordable housing and homelessness, transparent governance and active community engagement and responsible fiscal management. Kleiner has been endorsed by Ward 2 Councilor Erle Pierce and the firefighters union.
Horne’s volunteer work and experience as an operations manager for an electrical workers union and an operations specialize for a software company will bring diverse socioeconomic backgrounds and lived experiences to the board, she said. If elected, she will focus on affordable housing, homelessness and economic development.
The pair both have professional experience analyzing and working with constituents and overseeing large budget decisions and are active in their community as volunteers.