Mayor Champlin's Inaugural Remarks - January 4, 2024
I’d like to start by thanking the voters of Concord for the faith they placed in me by electing me the city’s fifty-seventh mayor. I am deeply touched by your confidence and will work hard for you the next two years.
I also want to thank the volunteers who worked so selflessly on my campaign and without whose efforts we could not have been successful. You were amazing.
Finally, and importantly, my deep love and appreciation goes to my family—in particular my wife Susie, without whose support and encouragement I could neither run nor serve.
As I step into this new role, I aspire to be a mayor for all of Concord. For the state worker, the teacher and the firefighter living in the South End; for the healthcare worker and sales associate living in Penacook; for the New American and the auto mechanic on the Heights; and for the retired physician and the professional on the West Side. I believe we must weigh all their interests in our decision-making.
During my 10 years on City Council and in this past election, I have heard clearly from Concord residents that they want us focused on the following five areas, and I encourage each of us to ask if what we are doing around this table helps address them.
First, creating economic opportunity. Second, securing public safety. Third, addressing the national housing affordability crisis that has especially impacted Concord. Fourth, investing in critical needs like infrastructure and our workforce with sound financial management in mind. And finally, respecting the burden that Concord property taxpayers face, sometimes due to forces outside of this Council’s control.
As I’ve said before, a major focus of my term will be economic development. Concord must be competitive in retaining the businesses we have and in attracting new investment in our community. It is not just jobs, opportunity and tax base expansion that will be created; a vibrant economy also contributes greatly to the quality of life in our city. To this end, I am creating an Economic Development Advisory Committee to work with the city’s Community Development Department to help identify emerging opportunities as well as any weaknesses in our current strategies. I further plan to work with Community Development and the Concord Chamber to re-institute the mayor’s business visitation program to hear first-hand the challenges our businesses and developers face. We need to be smart and strategic in this area.
Supporting this initiative will be an ongoing focus to add housing stock in our city to ensure that we have the worker base to sustain business development as well as sufficient affordable housing to ensure that no resident need be without shelter. As homelessness is a national crisis with a neighborhood impact, we will seek national models and local partners to address it.
We will be working on quality-of-life issues such as maintaining and creating recreational and cultural opportunities, but also on ensuring that Concord is truly a place where everyone feels that they belong and can succeed and contribute to the success of the community.
Since an important aspect of life quality is the degree to which one feels secure, we will be attentive to continuing to recruit top-quality police and firefighters while giving them the tools they need to keep us safe. This includes pursuing the best way to provide a home for the Concord Police Department that meets the needs of modern law enforcement and also ensures that they achieve national certification.
I heard clearly from voters that they want us to invest wisely in the priorities I just listed, while also being sensitive to the burden placed on property taxpayers in our city. While affordable housing and homelessness are a challenge throughout New Hampshire, Concord can continue to lead. But we should not have to shoulder this issue alone; our state government and neighboring communities need to do their share.
This City Council will face challenges and opportunities such as these, which we can anticipate. But there is no doubt that other challenges will arise unexpectedly. How we face those will test our mettle.
We are a small city with a big heart; one city with shared ambitions and values. We want to be safe. We want to prosper. We want respect. I believe we can all agree on these goals. Our challenge as a Council will be how we work together to deliver on these aspirations.
Each of us comes to this table with individual passions and priorities. At the same time, our constituents expect us to focus on the core responsibilities of city government—public safety, a healthy economy, sound infrastructure, efficient city services and sound fiscal management. Everything else we do rests on this foundation.
As we move forward in the next two years, I ask this City Council to approach issues in flexible and collaborative ways. There will not always be consensus. But we should strive toward that goal. Our constituents expect it of us and I will try to lead us there. There will inevitably be moments when our opinions diverge on matters of policy. When that happens, I ask you to take a moment to step into the other person’s shoes. Consider that you may be only partially right, or perhaps even wrong. Look to where our positions intersect with each other and, most importantly, with the public good.
There is an immense amount of talent on this City Council. And a great deal of love for our city—what it is and what it can be. I look forward to working with all of you in the months ahead to build toward that vision.