Manchester Mayor-elect Joyce Craig says crafting a budget tops her priority list as the city’s 56th mayor. She also reflects on the historic nature of the election - being the first woman to hold the office.
“It feels great,” she tells NHPR’s Morning Edition.
“I have two daughters and we had a number of their friends working on our campaign. It’s wonderful for them to know that they have every opportunity to do anything they want and this is something they can strive for as well.”
Craig, a former alderman, defeated four-term incumbent Ted Gatsas by 1,498 votes Tuesday.
She is the first Democrat to be mayor since Bob Baines in 2006.
The issues she raised on the campaign trail will be familiar themes of her administration, she says.
Craig promises an open dialogue. She says, “What we heard, loudly, is they’re looking for a change and their concerns focused on improving our schools, making our streets safer, bringing new businesses into the city, and really making progress on the opioid crisis.”
The mayor-elect notes that she is required to present a budget within the city’s tax cap, a limit on annual budget increases which voters approved in 2011. She says priorities include fighting the heroin, fentanyl, and opioid crisis, and ensuring students and teachers have resources to succeed.
Craig cited the value of public-private partnerships and efficiencies for writing the next budget. The annual budget is approximately $315 million, more than half of which is the Education budget. In Manchester, the mayor serves as chair of the school committee.