My name is Robbie Hinkel and I'm running for Dover City Council in Ward 2. I moved to Dover in 2012 to further my career, and build a life for myself after college. I started my time in Dover couch surfing with a friend. Coming from a small, rural town, I was instantly enamored with all the amenities Dover had to offer, such as public transit, a walkable downtown, a plethora of bars and restaurants, museums, parks and proximity to so much natural beauty. I felt at home right away, and it didn’t take long before I found my own place and the most important part of any living situation: a sense of community.
I have become involved in the community through various service and political organizations. I've collected and donated food to End 68 Hours of Hunger and cleaned up litter with the Don't Trash Dover and Dover Main Street organizations. Wanting to step up my involvement, I volunteered for the 2020 election, became Treasurer and Fundraising Chair for a local political committee, and became an advocate for the LGBTQ+ community as a Delegate At-Large to the NH Stonewall Democrats. I've also become a certified peer support specialist to explore my passion for mental health.
Having graduated college during the Great Recession of 2008, I'm no stranger to working multiple jobs to make ends meet. As a business analyst working on IT projects, I'm well versed with delivering projects on time and within budget. These experiences have made me fiscally responsible, and it's that discipline I would bring to my role as City Councilor, working to keep Dover affordable for young people, working families, and those on fixed incomes. In the same vein, I will work to continue Dover's efforts at building affordable and workforce housing by taking advantage of new tax incentives, allowing people to live in the community where they work and play.
Throughout my life I've experienced various hardships such as housing insecurity, familial mental health and substance use issues, extreme student loan debt and discrimination for being gay. In the end, it was the compassion of my community that got me through it. Now that I am in a position to help others, I feel called upon to pay that compassion forward. The hardships I've faced are not unique to me; they are all too common in our society, including here in Dover. For many people they have only gotten worse, especially during the pandemic. As a City Councilor, I would lead with compassion and empathy ensuring that all members of our community have a voice in the decision-making process as we work together to build an inclusive and resilient city. Growing up, I saw first-hand how untreated mental health issues can destroy lives. This issue has been exacerbated for many people by the pandemic and often leads to substance use issues. I'm glad to see Dover making strides to address this issue through partnerships with community organizations such as the Dover Mental Health Alliance. In order to have a healthy, emotionally resilient community, we must put additional resources behind building awareness and increasing access to treatment services.
Another means of building community strength is through the implementation of green energy and climate adaptation goals such as a community solar project. This would lower our carbon footprint and offset municipal operating expenses, saving taxpayer money. Working with Dover's recently hired Resilience Coordinator, we can complete projects that make our city capable of withstanding the effects of climate change, while saving us even more money in the long run.
Dover is already a thriving community with so much to offer. If we work together with empathy for the lived experiences of our neighbors, we can overcome the issues we face and guarantee an affordable, inclusive, and resilient city for all. I look forward to speaking with voters over the next several months and developing a shared vision for our city. I hope to win your vote for Ward 2 City Councilor on November 2nd, and will work diligently to make our shared vision a reality.