Presidential advisor Kellyanne Conway stopped by Manchester’s central firehouse Wednesday, as part of the Trump Administration’s nationwide listening tour focused on the opioid epidemic.
During her visit, Conway had little to say herself. But her presence spurred lots of talk among the locals.
While introducing himself to Conway, Manchester Police Chief Nick Willard shook her hand, joked about getting a photo later and then told her he's a "big fan." Willard did manage to get his photo in the end along with some other Conway fans including the region’s DEA officer.
Photo ops aside, Wednesday’s visit was a chance for local officials to share with White House staff how the city is working to stem the tide of drug use. Mayor Ted Gatsas told Conway about Manchester’s Safe Station program. The program has turned the city’s ten firehouses into access points for people seeking substance abuse treatment.
“The people that are coming here – the 1,700 people are coming from all over the state and all over the country – it’s not just Manchester people," Gatsas said. "I would hope that they would be popping up everywhere – the more that they pop up I think the bigger and better things that will happen in getting this thing under control.”
Conway seemed impressed by the scope of the program.
“It sounds like you reduced the stigma and the shame barriers too – that’s very important,” Conway said. “The stigma is gone, the shame is gone,” Gatsas replied. “Most important thing is getting people help and saving a life.”
New Hampshire was the latest stop in Conway’s multi-state tour. Earlier this week, she joined U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price in Michigan, West Virginia and Maine.