Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Man To See In Manchester, New Hampshire

GreenMountainPolitics1 will be the first to admit that we don't know a darn thing about New Hampshire state politics.

Who is the Speaker of the New Hampshire House? Couldn't tell you.

Who is the Minority Leader in the New Hampshire Senate? No idea.

As it is, we have trouble enough keeping the Presidential campaigns straight in this state without wading into the thicket of local politics.

Noted: Yes, we understand that New Hampshire politics impact Presidential politics. Which is why we make a trek to Concord several times a month to huddle with local Wise Men and Woman (from both sides of the aisle) and download "what we need to know".

But long lunches at The Barley House does not a expert on local politics make.

However, there is one local New Hampshire politician that we do know. He is Manchester Mayor Frank Guinta. He is GreenMountainPolitics1's mayor. And, no matter who you are or where you are, you always know who your mayor is.

To be fair, as Mayor of the largest city in New Hampshire, Frank Guinta is responsible for many more citizens than just Monday Morning Clacker - about 114,999 more citizens.

Mayor Guinta is also responsible for, among other things, an annual city budget of $267 million dollars, 17,000 students in the Manchester school system, a fire department, a police department, a public works department and a parking enforcement department that still has yet to figure out where we stash our car during the day without having to pay for parking.

Mayor Guinta is the 3rd youngest mayor in Manchester's history (he was 35 when he first took office in 2006) and he is the city's 2nd "Strong" mayor (read: more robust mayoral authority) to hold the office (Bob Baines, Guinta's predecessor, was Manchester's 1st "Strong" mayor).

And, by almost all accounts, Mayor Guinta is putting all that new mayoral authority to good use.

This week we had the opportunity to spend an hour with Frank Guinta at his office and discuss his first term and what his vision for the future of Manchester is.

Crib Notes For The Mayor's Agenda: Tax cuts (two tax cuts for Manchester taxpayers so far), increased public safety (20 new officers added to the police ranks in his first term) and continuing to try to improve Manchester's schools (lower dropout rates, better prepare students to compete in the global marketplace and figuring out just how in the hell the Manchester school system uses 40 cents of every dollar it spends on "administrative costs").

Mayor Guinta knows the business of Manchester. No question about that. And, it's clear the Mayor loves his job. For all the right reasons.

We were greatly impressed with how "wonky" the Mayor was. Facts, figures, statistics, plans and visions - for a solid hour the Mayor talked about how he had made Manchester better and what he was going to do in the future to continue to make Manchester better.

It sounded good to us. And, that was our tax money he was talking about using.

MTV might not consider "wonky" to be cool but MTV doesn't have to pay property taxes, doesn't have children in the local school and doesn't walk the streets of Manchester at night.

Besides, we think "wonky" is back in. Like the old new pink.

Which is a good thing because Guinta (a Republican) is running for re-election in a "challenging" (our word not his) political environment.

Which brings us all the way around to one of the most important questions that we asked the Mayor - "Your endorsement would be a large "get" for any Presidential candidate. Who are you planning to endorse in the New Hampshire Republican Presidential Primary?"

And he answered (GOP political hacks hold your breath!)...

And he answered...

Just you wait and see. Our YouTube clip of his answer will be up tomorrow.