Claira Monier: Ready for the next challenge
A Bedford native who has lived in Goffstown for much of her adult life, former geography professor Monier is a familiar name in state politics. A former aide to Republican Gov. Meldrim Thomson and the widow of Senate President Robert Monier, she also served as regional administrator for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the Reagan administration. She spent 20 years as the executive director of the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority, retiring in 2007 at the age of 67.
"For the first time in my life, I could do what I wanted to do," she said. "I said, 'What do I know about housing?' I had just learned how to make a mortgage payment."
"Our function was to provide affordable housing for people in New Hampshire in any way we could," she said, which included the Section 8 program, rent subsidies and low-interest rates for single-family mortgages.
Monier believes that home ownership fosters buy-in to a community, and said she enjoyed seeing the results of the organization's efforts.
Monier has stayed busy in her retirement, active in the Rotary Club of Manchester, volunteering for AARP, and serving on the boards of The Way Home, Neighborhood Works, Plymouth State University's Alumni Board and Manchester High School West's Endowment Fund, among others.
In 2011, she was named chairman of Rick Santorum's campaign in New Hampshire. The former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania was a Republican presidential candidate.
Monier intends to keep learning, whether it's through a course she's taking in the history of architecture to prepare for an upcoming trip to Vienna, or mastering her computer and her iPhone.
"Eighty percent of what you do doesn't matter," she added. "But you never know which of that other 20 percent will pay off."