Dover Election Report
Dover (NH) Election Report
by Dave Mincin · 11/14/05
Foster's Daily Democrat, November 9, 2005, (special election edition):
- "Region votes for change"
- "Larochelle wins mayor's race in Rochester upset"
- "Watman wins Somersworth mayoral race"
- "New faces to take the reins in Portsmouth"
and my very, very, favorite:
- "Scott takes Mayberry's seat" (Dover chooses tax fighter over incumbent).
I was recently asked to write a little report on the elections in NH. Truthfully, I wanted to defer, because for the last five weeks I have had but one goal and that was to do my best to get elected to City Council here in Dover. Well, I lost my bid to a lifelong resident and two term incumbent 209-164, but for sure, the good guys won in an big way, and Dover has begun the process of bringing power back to the folks.
To get the true magnitude of our success, a little history is in order. First, Dover has long been considered one of the centers of power for those who believe "government knows best"; Sheehan was a Senator here. Spending is out of control, and land taxes and debt are rising at a frightening rate. We had a City Manager who ran Dover as his little serfdom, and secrecy was the norm.
About a year and a half ago David Scott sued the city to open up the books per the freedom in government law RSA 91A, requesting salaries of municipal employees. Of course the City Manager refused, saying the information was not available, and would be too costly to provide if it was available.
I joined David's little group of concerned Dover folks last November when we were working on getting our people elected to the Charter Commission. Unfortunately we were only able to get 3 of 9 members elected and the final recommendations were not very encouraging.
Our next mission was to go after the City Manager, who finally under a cloud took a job in Arizona.
So what does the City Council do? It pulls a fast one and cuts a secret deal with the assistant City Manager to give him the job, at a higher salary than the governor has. Well, we papered the city with the truth, a number of Free Staters and friends helped with this too. We packed City Council the day of the vote. According to insiders we brought more folks to city hall that night that can be remembered, I even did my first testimony before Council against hiring the assistant. We lost the vote, but receiving 3 Council votes was a victory of sort. What we really didn't notice at the time was that the politicos in Dover were beginning to take notice, and get a little riled!
Next we began meeting weekly and David began recruiting folks to run for Council. In a way we were kind of like the FSP, from different backgrounds and differing political views, but we all agreed spending was out of control, taxes increases must stop, and the folks have a right to know what's going on.
Personally I had no intention of running for anything this early in my NH life, but when I was asked by David, one of the NH folks, I just figured if they have enough faith in me, then I must give it my best effort. Truth is we had no one else to run in Ward 1 either.
We were able to contest 4 seats, David and I against incumbents, and Catherine, and Harvey against competition for open seats. Make no mistake, folks knew my task was a large one. Ward 1 had the highest union population, most city employees, and least number of homeowners, not to mention my opponent was a former city employee as well as former president of the Municipal Employees Union.
I was just overwhelmed by the help from the folks: Dover folks, NH freedom folks, and Free Staters too! We had a total of twenty-seven folks who helped, some more that others, but all helped in some way and can honestly say that each had something unique and important to add to our effort. We also had ten donors and one PAC help cover our costs.
Unfortunately we came up a little short 164-209, but by no means do I consider our effort a loss. Three of four of our candidates were elected, and we received a commitment from my opponent to not vote for any tax or spending increases. All of us learned so much about running for office, working together, and using our varying talents for a common goal.
I guess you might say for me, that this truly sealed the deal about NH and me. After the election many of us went to David's house for a victory celebration. A good number of the folks who have been working to get it done in the Seacoast were there. Lots of smiles, hand shakes, and "good job"s floating around. I couldn't help but feel humbled!
I expect none of can say for sure about much other than our own thoughts, but I believe after rubbing elbows with so many of the folks who get it done in Strafford County, that I have been accepted as just one of the local folks who cares about freedom.
New Hampshire is now my home, and I thank all you folks for never making me doubt my move for a moment. I think this coming year is going to be a great one for freedom in New Hampshire!