Special election today for Ward 3 House seat in ManchesterBy BETH LaMONTAGNE HALL
New Hampshire Union Leader
December 19. 2011 11:25PM
MANCHESTER - Ward 3 Democrats Mary Georges and Peter Sullivan are facing off in the Hillsborough District 10 special primary election today.
Democratic and undeclared voters can cast a ballot at the Rines Center on Elm Street from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The shortened polling hours are both to save costs and to ease the additional workload on the City Clerk's Office during the busy Christmas and presidential primary seasons.
The winner of this primary will face Republican Muni Savyon in the special election on Feb. 21.
Georges is an activist involved in a number of community organizations, including serving as president and co-founder of the faith-based organization Victory Women of Vision. The local group aims to empower women to become more involved in their communities, become self-sustaining and fight for human rights. It's her involvement in the center-city community that led her to seek this open House seat.
'(People) always tell me they see I'm a strong woman and strong leader and a strong advocate for the community,' said Georges. 'This is the time to take action and go stand for my community.'
If elected, Georges said education would be a focus of her term. As someone who went back to school as an adult, Georges said she sees the importance in having a strong education, both through high school and after. Because of her education, Georges said, 'I feel my eyes are opened to things I couldn't do before.'
'I want future generations to be focused more on school,' she said.
Georges has lived in Manchester since she left her home country, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in 1990. She met her husband in Boston, and the two relocated to Manchester in 1993. Georges became a citizen in 2005.
Sullivan is a former Ward 3 alderman and three-term state House representative. During his previous terms in the House, Sullivan sponsored legislation to protect victims of domestic violence and reduce mercury levels in the air and water. Sullivan said protecting victim rights is an ongoing issue he will again focus on, if elected state representative.
Sullivan said he would also like to focus on education and improving state schools. He suggested creating a clear plan to fix failing schools, similar to plans created in states like Virginia.
'We spend so much time talking about adequacy we forget to talk about excellence,' Sullivan said. 'I would like to see more innovation.'
Sullivan was hesitant to enter another race after losing his bid for Welfare Commissioner this year, but he made the decision to run because he wanted to help improve the political atmosphere in Concord.
'This is a very challenging time for the state. We're facing significant issues and we have a House leadership that's moving us backward instead of forward,' said Sullivan. 'We need some more voices up there who would be able to present an alternative. With my experience in the Legislature and as an alderman, I think I'd be able to hit the ground running on day one.'
The Hillsborough District 10 House seat became vacant earlier this year when state Rep. Mike Brunelle stepped down to take a job with the Pennsylvania Service Employees International Union. Brunelle also served as the Manchester Democratic Committee chairman and the executive director of the New Hampshire Democratic Party.