Hooksett council vice chair wants town to stay on path of positivity
HOOKSETT — With town politics reaching a new level of positivity after years of infighting, Town Council Vice Chairman Leslie Boswak said she wants the entire council to sign a pledge dedicated to keeping the positive momentum going.
Boswak said the pledge would state that for the next fiscal year, the town’s administration would work to get residents to take a more active role in the community.
“Hooksett has a long history of negative public discourse. It seems that instead of debating issues, discussions used to descend into personal and vicious attacks; this is happening across the country. But right now, Hooksett, with the town part at least, is in a very good place, and we want to keep it going that way,” Boswak said.
Boswak said that the impetus for the pledge came from Hooksett Town Administrator Dean Shankle’s efforts to engage residents through a town-wide survey. For his part, Shankle said he thinks Boswak’s efforts are important and that the work she has done on the issue should be commended.
“The Town Council really wants to figure out how to engage people on a more regular level and not just at hearings,” Shankle said.
Both Shankle and Boswak agreed that the discourse in the town should go beyond the dozen or so residents who insist on staying informed on all town matters.
“I want to see residents take part in what the community has to offer, while also trying to make it better. Hooksett has so much going for it,” Boswak said.
But despite all the positive aspects of Hooksett, Boswak said residents are hesitant to engage.
“We don’t have real participation in government here,” she said.
As proof, Boswak said that the percentage of residents who vote in local elections is very low, and that the town often has difficulty getting residents interested in running for town positions. Boswak said that despite the positive atmosphere in town politics at the moment, many residents might be hesitant to participate because of Hooksett’s political past.
“We have had controversy with the police department, which is just part of the fair bit of history of controversial news items we have had happen in the town. People don’t want to subject themselves to that,” Boswak said.
She added that without a variety of perspectives, the town’s discourse and political agenda could be affected by only a few when the issues directly impact everyone in town.
“Everyone on the council wants to see Hooksett become a better place,” she said. “It’s just sometimes we disagree on how to do that.”
Boswak added that she would like to see Hooksett enjoy the same sense of community as residents in Deerfield, where she is town administrator.
“You drive by and everyone waves. Now to be fair, it is a smaller town, but still,” Boswak said.
“Now that we are in a good place, we should focus on going onwards and upwards; don’t let us fall back,” she firstname.lastname@example.org