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Where They Stand, Representatives for Somersworth County and Dover Wards

Updated: Jul 17, 2021

Prior to the general election, we asked candidates to contribute to our Blog, through interviews conducted by members of Dover Dems or in their own words. The positions of Representatives Peter Bixby, Catt Sandler, Susan Treleaven, and Ken Vincent, originally published in October, are included in this group.

Peter Bixby, Dover Wards 5 and 6 and Somersworth County, Ward 2

by Pat Ross

Peter bases his public service on the belief that government should serve the common good. His key issues include climate change, energy efficiency, and renewable energy. He has had a positive impact on those issues through his service on the Environment and Agriculture Committee. His academic background – literature studies and editorial work – make him skilled at analyzing, assessing, and reworking his committee’s bills.

He believes the critical issues New Hampshire faces include health care, employment, business viability, and education, all of which have been exacerbated by the Covid-19 virus. Peter believes that education, business and health care systems must become more resilient. In addition, he believes health care is a right--not a privilege.

Peter has also been involved in improving the state’s animal welfare laws and has taken the lead on legislation to legalize growing hemp in New Hampshire. He also was involved in creating laws to speed the cleanup of the Coakley Landfill.

When not in Concord, Peter raises and cooks a large portion of the meals for his wife and two children. His hobbies include fencing, contradancing, singing traditional folk songs, and brewing cider and fruit wines using fruit he grows in his orchard.

Catt Sandler, Strafford County, District 21

by Pat Ross

Catt Sandler traveled a varied and impressive path to Dover and the New Hampshire State Legislature, all with an eye toward public service. In the 1970s, she served in the Army Reserve and as an active duty commissioned officer in the U.S. Army. While on active duty, Catt was one of the first female lieutenants assigned to the Military Police branch.

Upon returning to civilian life, she spent more than 25 years working for a major railroad company, first in security and police, then as the first female Superintendent of Railroad Police for the northern half of West Virginia. Catt eventually was transferred to serve in the company’s Labor Relations department in Jacksonville, Florida, where she and her family re-located. While attending law school at night, she took early retirement and began working for a small law firm, handling personal injury and family law cases. With the Recession in 2008, she was admitted into the Federal Bankruptcy Court, motivated by a desire to help clients keep their homes and cars.

After practicing law for a decade, Catt and her husband were both eligible for retirement. With their children grown, she and her husband “sold the house, packed the cars, grabbed the cats, and headed to New Hampshire.” Clearly the weren’t destined to be spending time in the rocking chair.

In 2016, Catt was approached and asked to run for the State Legislature. The rest, as they say, is history. With two terms behind her, and a possible third on the horizon, Catt was asked about serving the people of New Hampshire and to share her ideas and plans for the next session.

What motivates you to run?

It is a great opportunity to be active in politics again after a long dry spell. Public service was highly respected in my family as I was growing up and I need to be involved again.

What do you consider to be the most critical issues confronting the state right now?

  • The pandemic, surviving it without exacerbating conflicting views of what protections are needed and getting schools and businesses open again SAFELY

  • Adequate school funding

  • Environmental challenges, such as the Pease water contamination situation, and the drought

What issues are you passionate about?

  • Equal rights under the law for all people, regardless of race, creed, national origin, political party, or who people want to love or marry

  • Labor unions’ ability to protect the rights of workers and the benefits and programs they’ve worked so hard to achieve

  • The ability of working people in New Hampshire to have a living wage, health insurance and paid family leave

  • Free and fair elections: the elimination of gerrymandering; limiting the influence of big money in our elections

What are your committee assignments?

In my first term, I served on the Executive Departments and Administration Committee and the Legislation Administration Committee. In my second term, the Election Law Committee, which I have requested again.

What is your greatest strength?

Attention to detail

and greatest weakness?

Attention to detail

What values guide your work?

Honesty, kindness, patience, and working as if the future of my community depends on my actions

What non-political activities do you enjoy?

Gardening, mostly. I am still hoping to be able to dig a hole somewhere in my yard without hitting a boulder twice the size of my cat!

Susan Treleaven, Dover Wards 5 and 6 and Somersworth County, Ward 2

by Pat Ross

Susan is deeply committed to the communities she serves. She and her husband Stephen have resided in Dover for more than 20 years. A 1980 graduate of the University of New Hampshire, Susan credits her training and early experience as a preschool/kindergarten teacher as the foundation for her strong advocacy of public education.

As a legislator, Susan’s overarching goal is to work cooperatively with all public servants to ensure our state’s future. Her legislative priorities include: renewing support for public education, improving infrastructure, providing job opportunities, safeguarding access to affordable health care and protecting our national resources. She is committed to attend all legislative sessions, actively engage in committee work, listen to all sides, and represent the interests of her constituents.

Susan serves on the Municipal and County Government Committee where she is able to tap into her expertise as a Licensed Professional Realtor of 27 years.

In addition to her legislative work, Susan volunteers for many causes, including: Seacoast Family Promise, Avis Goodwin Health, Enter, and the Unitarian Universalist Church. She is energetic in her commitment to her volunteer activities, as well as her service to Dover and Somersworth.

Ken Vincent, Strafford County, District 17

by Donna Maskwa

Passionate, caring and dedicated are the top three of many words that describe Representative Ken Vincent.

Ken is a retired firefighter with more than 33 years of service and is a local business owner. A resident of Somersworth, Ken also serves on the City Council and has been a youth football coach and member of the Lion’s Club.

“I think I try to be a very straightforward, honest guy. I say what I have to say and if I like something, or don’t like something, I’m going to tell you.”

Serving and caring for his community as a rep has been a natural transition for Ken after retiring as a firefighter. His motivation is always helping others and he connects his legislative activity to the needs of the people he serves. “As a firefighter I responded to 35 overdoses where 11 people died. The opioid crisis was out of control and when I retired I felt compelled to get involved with the state.” Ken served on a Mental Health Caucus and understands the links between drug addition, alcohol abuse, and mental health issues. “We have to look out for people,” he believes.

As a member of the house Science, Technology and Energy Committee, Ken is working to address issues pertaining to climate change and clean energy. He’s gone “head to head with energy companies that kept trying to pass bills to make it easier for the energy companies to charge more to rate payers. We just had a 24% proposed increase for power lines. That’s a lot of money if your bill goes up like that. You can’t get anywhere.”

Ken currently is working on a bill to increase penalties for violations of the Privacy Act, specifically for privately recording someone without permission and posting it online?

Looking at a third term, Ken would like to continue working to pass a family leave act. “It helps ALL people. It helps people in need.” He also wants to support more clean energy legislation.

His fellow Representatives Peter Schmidt, Peter Bixby and Susan Treleaven have greatly influenced Ken. “Look at their records. They all care!” Ken feels his best accomplishment is, “that I stood up for people.”

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