Manchester is suffering systemic failure caused by leadership that’s either gone in the wrong direction or simply been overwhelmed and failed. Let’s take a look.
Crime roils the city. With a violent crime rate that’s 60% above the national average, a property crime rate that’s 12% above the national average, and an overall crime rate that’s 20% above the national average, Manchester is a dangerous place; so dangerous it’s considered safer than just 14% of cities nationwide.
Homeless vagrancy blights the city. It makes Manchester unpleasant to be in, especially Downtown where its relentless presence discourages people from visiting parks, restaurants, offices, and shops. Panhandlers are unchallenged, greeting people not just Downtown, but in virtually every part of the city, including highway off-ramps. Nothing says “welcome to Manchester” like panhandlers at the city’s gateways.
Schools have failed. The school district recently released its own assessments which showed only 15% of students in grades 1 through 8 were proficient in math. Only 22% were proficient in English. Proficient means “on grade level.” The bottom has fallen out of what had been a downward trend. School spending on a per-pupil basis continues to soar as scores plummet and parents pull their kids from the system. About 25% of Manchester’s school-aged children are schooled at home or in private, Catholic or public charter schools. That number will undoubtedly grow now that Education Freedom Accounts have been established.
Manchester isn’t retaining or attracting Middle-Class families. More than 46,000 people commute into the city from surrounding towns each day to go to work. They come from communities where the median household income ranges from 26% higher on the low side to 122% higher on the high side than Manchester’s $60,711. The city’s poverty rate is double the state’s average.
While all of this has taken a heavy toll on the city, turning it around is possible and there’s no time to lose. Having no executive experience and beholden to radical left-wing special interests, Mayor Joyce Craig has proven that the ability to criticize an opponent on the campaign trail doesn’t translate into being able to do the job.
It will take more than a complainer to defeat Mayor Craig. She is a Democrat where Democrats have a decided advantage in both registration and turnout. She has the unified backing of the Democrat Party and is expected to raise $600,000 for this campaign. Craig won’t be beat by bluster. She’ll be beat by substance that provides real alternatives.
During this campaign, I have put my 30 years of hands-on experience in Manchester politics and government into the bold, game-changing proposals I’ve put forward. Just as any experienced mechanic knows how best to find and fix what’s causing “that noise” or “that vibration” or “that thing,” the same is true in this race. We all know the “noises” Manchester is making but do we all know the causes and can we all fix them?
I have laid out detailed, bold plans that fundamentally change how the city tackles homeless vagrancy, reduces crime and protects neighborhoods, fixes our schools via an innovative public school choice system, retains and attracts the Middle Class, holds the line on spending and taxes, and more. They have in common an understanding of not just what is broken but why it’s broken and how to fix it.
Manchester’s residents know what’s wrong, but they want to know what a new mayor will do once elected and they really want to know that the new mayor can get the job done. That’s a big reason why I’m in this race. I am the only candidate that won’t need any on-the-job training or time to get up to speed. I’ve been there. I know exactly what the job entails and can do more than just answer the phones on Day One.
Imagine the debates and ask yourself which candidate can best do battle with Joyce Craig for the future of Manchester. Is it someone with vast experience and know-how in the city or someone with none? Is it someone who has won four citywide elections, including during “blue waves,” or someone who lost the mayor’s race two years ago by a margin of 56% to 42% and has never been elected to a governing body in the city?
The primary is September 21st and I ask for your support in this campaign to defeat Joyce Craig and rescue the city of Manchester from the clutches of urban destruction that have grabbed its throat during her 4 years in office.
Learn more at www.GirardForMayor.com