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Craig sworn in as Manchester's mayor, cites city's 'boundless potential'

By PAUL FEELY
New Hampshire Union Leader

January 02. 2018 11:05AM
Surrounded by family, Joyce Craig is sworn in as mayor of Manchester. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)



MANCHESTER — Highlighting "incredible opportunities and boundless potential" that lie ahead for Manchester, Joyce Craig celebrated the promise of a "new day" after taking the oath of office Tuesday as the 48th — and first female — mayor in the 171-year history of the state's largest city.

"Today is the first day of a new Manchester, and I am honored to be your mayor," said Craig during an inauguration ceremony Tuesday morning at the Radisson Hotel.

"Together, we will work hard to provide our city with opportunities to thrive," she said. "Together, we will make our city a welcoming place that embraces our history and diversity. Together, we will build a stronger Manchester."

Craig, the former alderman and school board member from Ward 1, thanked her parents and family members for their support during her campaign before turning an eye to the future of the Queen City.

"The story of our city cannot be told without understanding the strength and determination of its citizens," she said. "The people of Manchester have always been willing to work hard and take bold action when progress demands it. Our city has undergone periods of great difficulty. But, we have worked together to persevere.

"Manchester has transitioned from an era of textiles to one of technology and higher education. We will continue to find new opportunities that push us to be better, to do more for ourselves and future generations."

John Clayton, executive director of the Manchester Historic Association, served as master of ceremonies.

"This is an historic day for one woman, Joyce Craig, but Manchester is a city that has long been strengthened by women," said Clayton. "If there is a defining symbol for Manchester, it is that of the Mill Girl. That iconic statue in our Millyard embodies the courage and spirit of our young women who left their villages and farms to embrace life in the new and industrialized world."

Craig was introduced at the podium by Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-NH.

"Born and raised in Manchester, Mayor Craig has a lifelong commitment to this city and as your new mayor, she is hitting the ground running — literally," said Hassan. "Joyce Craig will be a mayor with the vision, and the energy of a marathoner, that it will take to move Manchester forward. She will be a mayor who listens. A mayor who hears the concerns and ideas of her constituents, then works to bring people together to make progress on those priorities."

Craig addressed the opioid crisis affecting the city and state: "Our first responders, public-health officials and treatment and recovery providers are doing remarkable work on the front lines of this crisis. However, to make real and lasting progress, we must set measurable goals and engage in a coordinated community effort.

"I'll bring key stakeholders together and work with our state and federal delegation to make sure we're doing everything we can to end this crisis. Through education, prevention, expanded treatment options, peer recovery support, and strong enforcement, we can work together to curb crime and save lives." Craig also promised to strengthen city schools.

"There has never been a more pivotal time to impact the direction of Manchester's public schools than right now," she said. "We cannot expect economic prosperity if we do not acknowledge and address the challenges facing our schools.

"I have consistently heard this message from some of this city's biggest and best employers. As employers with an eye on tomorrow's workforce, their message is clear: we must make improving our public-school system a priority."

Craig also promised to present a budget that comes in under the city's tax cap, as required under the city's Charter.

"Effective city management and sound fiscal planning are critical to protecting our hard-earned tax dollars and building a stronger city," said Craig. "I will present a budget under the tax cap and we will make smart and responsible decisions that keep our neighborhoods safe, combat the opioid crisis, and protect city services."

Five former Queen City mayors watched Craig take the oath of office: Sylvio Dupuis, Ray Wieczorek, Robert Baines, Frank Guinta and Ted Gatsas. Gatsas received a standing ovation from those in attendance when recognized by Hassan for his "years of service to the state and the city of Manchester."

Members of the state's congressional delegation issued statements congratulating Craig.

"I'm looking forward to our work together to strengthen Manchester and the region. Just as she's done throughout her career in public service, I know Joyce will work tirelessly to achieve her vision for the Queen City," said Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH.

Congresswoman Annie Kuster attended Craig's inauguration. "Mayor Craig has demonstrated an incredible commitment to public service and I know that she will continue her success improving the lives of Granite Staters at the helm in Manchester," Kuster said in a statement.

pfeely@unionleader.com


Local and County Government Manchester


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