On Monday evening, Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas and Executive Councilor Chris Sununu spent more than two hours taking questions from SEA/SEIU Local 1984 members as part of our Republican Gubernatorial Forum.
This forum followed one held last month for the Democratic gubernatorial candidates, with both being sponsored by the Political Education Committee. All four major Republican candidates were invited, however Rep. Frank Edelblut and Sen. Jeanie Forrester declined.
After delivering brief opening remarks, Gatsas and Sununu took turns answering questions submitted by members that touched on the opioid crisis, retiree health benefits, public pensions, infrastructure, the Sununu Youth Services Center and overtime at the Department of Corrections. By and large, Gatsas was quick to highlight his successes in Manchester while Sununu worked to draw contrasts between himself and Gov. Maggie Hassan.
Mark Evans, an adjunct faculty member at White Mountains Community College and a member of Chapter 32, said he appreciated that the union held the forum. Because he was already in the area for a bargaining meeting, he said he was glad to be able to attend.
“I’d met Sununu before, but I hadn’t met Gatsas, so I was happy for the opportunity,” he said. “I thought it was very well run and very well organized.”
He said he appreciated that while Gatsas and Sununu took some positions unions might not like — such as support of right to work — each showed a willingness to work across the aisle on other issues.
“I think those are the kind of conversations we are lacking nationwide,” Evans said. “We talk about bipartisanship, but we don’t really do it. This forum was doing it, and I appreciate that.”
SEA/SEIU Local 1984 First Vice President Ken Roos thanked all who took part in the event, including many who have not typically engaged in the union’s political events. Roos said he was pleased to see that while both candidates affirmed support for right to work laws, they were supportive of other key issues, including keeping promises to our retirees and investing in public infrastructure. Roos said he was appreciative to the candidates for taking part.
“This was a great opportunity for our members to meet and hear from two of the individuals who, in January, might be our new governor,” Roos said.
You can read our report on our Democratic gubernatorial forum here.