NH Job Corps SGA Students Interview Mayor Gatsas
Tags: Community Engagement | Local Government | Manchester Mayor | Mayor Ted Gatsas | New Hampshire Job Corps Center | NH Job Corps | Policy Makers | SGA | Student Government

NH Job Corps SGA Students Interview Mayor Gatsas

On Wednesday, January 20th, a very excited group of students left center to go to City Hall and meet with Mayor Ted Gatsas. Eight Student Government Association members were present, all of whom drafted thoughtful questions for the Mayor prior to the visit.

The Mayor met us in the chambers and spent an hour fielding some tough questions from the students. Mayor Gatsas spent over an hour with the students, and below is only a sampling of the interview:

Q: How do you build up the courage to speak in front of people you do not know? (Asked by SGA President Kadegia Williams)
A: “That’s a good question! If you’re afraid of people this is not the profession to be in!
…I’m still not a very good speaker!” The Mayor then talked about his career in sales, and how that helped him with communication and public speaking. He ended with some tips in giving speeches, and emphasized this: “Most of all, be honest”.

Q: “How do you balance your personal life and your work life?” (Asked by SGA Vice President Mario Rivera)
A: “Did you talk to my wife?” The Mayor earned a few chuckles, but then continued seriously, “I don’t have children, but I take time to spend with my wife, but with this job, you’re always on call.”

Q: “How do you think your mayoral duties have benefited Manchester?” (Asked by SGA Secretary Andrew Sorrentino)
A: The mayor talked through his career, highlighting that as an Alderman, and concurrently, a State Senator, he was highly attuned with the needs of the city. He also stated: “Change is not easy – getting people to act is the hard part and sometimes politics get in the way, unfortunately.”
He closed with: “My decisions aren’t based on politics but on what’s best for people and city.”

Q: “How do you deal with judgements from your critics?” (Asked by SGA President Kadegia Williams)
A: “Punch them in the nose. If you have thin skin or rabbit ears you should find a new profession.”

Q: “What is leadership to you?” (Asked by SGA Peer Facilitator Chris Dennis)
A: “Getting someone to follow you. Finding a common understanding is key. You need to lead them to where they want to go. So find that common ground first.”

Q: What’s one thing you’d change about Manchester?
A: “The weather.”

The Mayor then fielded questions about the massive heroine epidemic here in Manchester and in the state. This is something the Mayor has great passion for. He spent a lot of time reviewing the measures his team are working on, and quoting startling statistics: 333 deaths in Manchester, in 2014. 425 deaths in 2015. That’s more than gun violence or auto accidents.

He talked about prescription medicines, saying “We need to change our philosophy about opiate prescriptions.” And introduced us to his Not Even Once Campaign which talks about how using heroine just once can kill you. He said this epidemic has no boundaries, rich or poor, black or white, old or young, heroine is affecting everyone.

The Mayor gave the students some excellent advice, and concluded with an inspirational quote: “Life is not about finding yourself, its about creating yourself.”

The Mayor then enthusiastically agreed to visit Job Corps on a quarterly basis to get updates from our Student Government, about student driven initiatives and the positive impact our center is having on the Community.

Students in attendance:

Kadegia Williams

Vice President:
Mario Rivera

Andrew Sorrentino

Cody McFarland

Chief Justice:
David Polk

Sergeant at Arms:
Angel Karpel

Peer Facilitator:
Christopher Dennis

Peer Mediator:
Tori Kelsea

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