Retiree — and Longtime Chapter 4 Member — Seeking House Seat in Bow
We’re proud of the many SEA/SEIU Local 1984 member candidates for state office this fall. In the coming weeks, we’ll feature some who are facing primary challenges in the Sept. 13 statewide primary.
Dennis D’Ovidio is a Chapter 1 member, formerly a 30-year member of Chapter 4, who’s making his second bid for the state House of Representatives, after having lost by a mere 2 percent of the vote in the 2014 general election. Unlike in 2014, he’ll be facing a primary challenge as there are four Democrats seeking three spots on the ballot for Merrimack County District 23. D’Ovidio said he’s long been interested in the legislative process.
“When I was working full time, running for office wasn’t something I could do effectively,” D’Ovidio said. “Once I retired and had a couple of years to re-energize, I began to get involved with the Democratic Party and I was encouraged to run.”
D’Ovidio, who worked as a clinical program director at New Hampshire Hospital, said he learned some important lessons during his first run for office two years ago.
“Running as a Democrat in a fairly Republican district, I thought my first time out it was going to be difficult to win,” he said. “But I thought the experience would give me a leg up when I ran the next time.”
He said he wasn’t discouraged by his narrow loss in 2014, but instead worked to refine his message to voters.
“Not having run before, when I was approached by constituents asking for my positions, I wasn’t as prepared as I am now,” he said. “I have a better sense of how to outline the issues that I think are important to both the constituents and the state as a whole.”
In his time working for the state, D’Ovidio served as both an administrator and as a rank-and-file employee. Those different roles gave him a fuller understanding of how state government works, knowledge that would serve him well as a representative.
“I saw things from both sides as an employee and an administrator, and I got a good sense for how the budget process worked,” he said.
He said he always found value in being a union member, as well, as he joined up a few months after being hired and remained a member until his retirement.
“I felt that — and still feel that — state employees needed a union to balance the power structure of managers and administrators and the regular employees,” D’Ovidio said. “Management has a lot of power and knowledge of how the system works, and rank and file workers don’t necessarily have that.”
That’s where the union can help to balance things out. As a representative, D’Ovidio said he understands he might have to recuse himself from votes on some issues — such as pensions — that directly affect him, but he said he’d still work to advocate for his fellow union members.
“Even if I’m not able to vote, I’ll be there and able to explain or discuss an issue with my fellow House members and advocate on behalf of SEA/SEIU Local 1984 members and the residents they serve,” he said. “Everyone in this state relies upon good public employees and public services.”
You can see SEA/SEIU Local 1984’s full list of endorsed candidates here.