PORTSMOUTH- Assuming no one attempts to be a write-in candidate, Sean Dunne will retain his position as 1st Ward Councilman as the only declared candidate at this point.
His agenda, a word he feels has been misconstrued, shares much with what he ran on in 2017. Taking second in that primary, he later defeated incumbent Kevin W. Johnson in November 2017.
Now seeking a second term, Dunne hopes to build off the lessons he learned in the past four years.
“The importance in having good relationships between and within council and the community,” he said in a Wednesday interview when asked what he had learned in this now concluding term. “I landed in a situation that was not as collaborative as it is now.”
What his fellow ward residents, mostly located near the downtown area, can expect what he said represents their interests. This is what politicians are supposed to do, in his view.
“If you look at the word ‘representative’, really what’s supposed to happen is a group of people in area supposed to present ideas to one another and someone in that group then chooses to re-present those ideas at a legislative level,” he said.
What he means by agenda is not some self-serving vision, he said, but rather formed through conversations with community members. His 2017 doorknob hanger calling for increased urgency in grant pursuits, cooperation between the city and Shawnee State University, and setting Portsmouth as a lifestyle destination- are items he can sleep with at night as Dunne believes he has made progress in these pursuits.
He felt national media coverage painted a less than positive image, so Dunne has reached out to regional and national media to promote what is good about Portsmouth and the local actors leading its comeback.
“There is still availability of great places to live in this city at a very reasonable price,” he said, himself moving to Portsmouth in 2013. “It’s rewarding to be part of a comeback process… seeing all those different changes and being a part of all those changes is very rewarding and a great experience in life.”
The “Martell Plan,” a term devised by Dunne in comparison to the post-World War II Marshall Plan, includes the vacant building tax proposal as well as increasing its effectiveness through increased personnel and agreement with SSU for data organization.
“That is a key issue,” Dunne said, council recently revising several ordinances to grant Andy Gedeon and Portsmouth Police Officer Tiffany Hedrick more flexibility in their work. “Code enforcement is vital in my view.”
As a SSU sociology professor, he has previously called for providing internships for students seeking real-world experiences and wants to continue working with the Kricker Innovation Hub.
A large goal of his is the continued work on Spartan Municipal Stadium, where he obtained $25,000 in grant money prior to the start of his term. Dunne said the activation of spaces like these, through new constructions or holding events, can go a long way in the attempts to foster community.
“With the loss of Dreamland pool, there was a loss of the main way that the people of Portsmouth had collective effervescence,” he said, a sociology term essentially describing community unity. “By creating different events and activities where people can go out and have fun together, I think this is a very important in making a good place to live.”
Reach Patrick Keck (740)-353-3101 ext. 1931, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @pkeckreporter.
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