DERRY — Twenty-one residents are hoping to earn the top 10 vote counts in next month’s election to represent Derry's District 6 as state representatives.

That list includes several incumbents hoping for another two-year term, and newcomers wanting to win the position as well.

On the Republican side, incumbents hoping to win again are David Love, Phyllis Katsakiores, David Milz, Katherine Prudhomme-O'Brien, John Potucek, Richard Tripp, and Stephen Pearson.

Also running on the GOP ticket are Anne Copp, Erica Layon and Mary Ann Kimball.

Democrats running for a state representative position are incumbent Mary Eisner, along with Mary Till, Thomas Wood, Amy Datter-Levy, Paul Doolittle, Owen Ingram, Michell Sawyer Moge, Erin Spencer, Beatrice Vargas and Johnathan West.

Also on the ballot is Brenda Willis, running on the Independent ticket.

Derry voters will cast ballots on Nov. 3, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Pinkerton Academy. There is only one polling place for all four of Derry's voting districts.

Candidates responded to a profile and answers are below. Those not responding to the profile were Richard Tripp, Mary Ann Kimball, Paul Doolittle, Owen Ingram, Michelle Sawyer Moge, and Beatrice Vargas.


Name: Brenda Willis

Age: 65

Occupation: Executive director

Education: Attended Regis College, Granite State College, University of New Hampshire/Manchester

Elected experience: Derry School Board, Derry Charter Commission

Family: Husband Steven, two children, three grandchildren

Why are you running for office? As an undeclared/independent candidate, I am dedicated to working hard with people from both parties on what is important for Derry, and the state of New Hampshire, our citizens, communities and businesses. As the wife and daughter of proud combat veterans, I understand the issues our veterans face and I support the 2nd Amendment. As a member of the Child and Family Law Committee in Concord, I gained tremendous insight into issues facing our families and youth. Especially now, it is critical that we care for our most vulnerable citizens, our senior citizens, our children and our veterans. We must continue to work toward creating a stronger economy, supporting businesses, finding solutions to the drug crisis that continues to plague our state. COVID-19 has impacted our lives in unparalleled ways. I believe Gov. Sununu, along with his team, have led our state exceptionally well during this unprecedented time. I support equality for all citizens and do not support an income tax or a sales tax.

What would you support to trim the state budget? Now more than ever, it is critical we elect individuals who will work together, and lead together, supporting the New Hampshire advantage, adequately fund education, create a stronger economy, support small businesses, our tourism industry and our citizens.


Name: David Love

Age: 66

Occupation: Semi-retired, part-time handyman

Education: High school, one year at Northern Essex Community College

Elected experience: One-term state representative

Family: Divorced, daughter Emily

Why are you running for office? I love the state of New Hampshire and the advantages of living here, bringing up a family here and I want to be part of preserving the New Hampshire way of life for all New Hampshire citizens.

What would you support to trim the state budget? New Hampshire, as well as most states, will be facing budget shortfalls due to COVID-19. I believe in the short term, tightening the belt would be the best approach. We'll need to do a thorough and hard assessment of all state agencies to find any and all waste and duplication of services. Subsidies to companies providing non-essential services will need to be reassessed and eliminated.

Name: Phyllis Katsakiores

Age: 86

Occupation: Retired

Education: Saugus High, Malden Business School

Elected experience: Derry town councilor, state representative

Family: Widow, three children, 12 grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren

Why are you running for office? I think it's because I thoroughly enjoy it. I like being able to help people when they call. I have contacts in Concord, in Washington, D.C., that if anybody needs help, I can make a call and they help. I work across the aisle with no problem at all.

What would you support to trim the state budget? We need to make sure people have jobs, so they can work and if they can't we are there to help them. I think it makes sense that New Hampshire makes sure all these extra taxes aren't charged to people.

Name: Erica Layon

Age: 40

Occupation: Homeschooling mom, former financial analyst and options trader

Education: MIT, economics

Elected experience: None

Family: Married, mother of three boys

Why are you running for office? For years I have spoken to committees when they considered new laws. My jobs as a Wall Street analyst and trader were to see what was around the corner and find opportunities and risks. I know there will be a lot of good and a lot of bad laws suggested in the wake of COVID and all its disruptions to normal life. Rather than just going up to fight for and against bills one by one, I believe I can serve my family and Derry better as an elected state representative. I will do everything in my power to stop any income tax or sales tax. I will work to improve the education of our children no matter where they go to school, public, private or home school. I will work to get New Hampshire back to work, allowing businesses and customers to find the best way to work together no matter what we face.

What would you support to trim the state budget? As an economist and analyst, I have the skill to find inefficiencies and bring them to light to reduce costs while maintaining or improving results. As a principle, I believe in empowering people to keep more of their own money and to choose the targets of voluntary charity is far better than cumbersome government programs.

Name: David Milz

Age: 71

Occupation: Retired airline general manager

Education: Not given

Elected experience: Three years East Derry Fire Commissioner, three years Derry Town Councilor, eight years as a state representative

Family: Married to wife Pam for 40 years

Why are you running for office? To properly represent Derry's views on taxation, healthcare, economy, and other national and local issues on a state level without interjecting personal views.

What would you support to trim the state budget? The same thing I would do to a family budget. Look for unnecessary expenses and cut them.

Name: Katherine Prudhomme-O'Brien

Age: 50

Occupation: Homemaker

Education: Bacherlor's degree in history and legal studies , American College of History and Legal Studies.

Elected experience: State representative, Derry Public Library trustee, Derry delegate to the New Hampshire Republican State Committee

Family: Husband, two daughters

Why are you running for office? I love Derry and New Hampshire and this is the best place in the Northeast to work and raise a family and I'd like to help keep it that way for future generations. I love our federal and state constitutions and their goal of justice and fairness for all and will always fight for that. I serve on the Election Law Committee and election integrity is a passion of mine. I am proud to have been the prime sponsor of HB 1240, signed into law this summer that criminalizes sexual relations between teachers and students in New Hampshire.

What would you support to trim the state budget? I would like to get state employee benefits and salary packages in line with the private sector, while also honoring where past agreements have been made.

Name: Stephen Pearson

Age: 44

Occupation: Professional fire lieutenant in Manchester

Education: Pinkerton Academy, engineering degree and master's degree in public administration from Oklahoma State.

Elected experience: State representative

Family: Wife and two rescued pugs

Why are you running for office? I am running to continue the strong leadership Derry needs in Concord. First and foremost, serious changes need to be made in the way we are fighting the opioid crisis. We must eliminate the loophole that protects drug dealers. I will continue to fight to fix the Exit 4A project. We need to continue to support our VA and our veterans suffering from mental illness and addiction. I will fight to ensure that Derry gets the education funding we deserve. I want to ensure the rail trail project is completed and the state network of trails is successful. I also want to ensure we move forward in making healthcare affordable, especially for our seniors. Finally, I want to ensure that Derry is not burdened further with tax increases as we bring our economy back to full throttle.

What would you support to trim the state budget? There are several projects that can be delayed. We have programs at the state level that have gone stale and can be eliminated and there is discretionary funding that will be retained to ensure a balanced budget without raising taxes.

Name: John Potucek

Age: 73

Occupation: Retired, engineer/project manager, middle school math teacher

Education: Bachelor's degree, New Hampshire College/Southern New Hampshire University; master's degree credits in education, Franklin Pierce University

Elected experience: State representative

Family: Married for 48 years, two children, one grandchild on the way

Why are you running for office? I want to continue my service to the town of Derry and our state. My work in the House of Representatives is not completed. I want to ensure that New Hampshire stays the Live Free or Die state, the state that I've come to love, and not become an extension of other states who tax their citizens to death.

What would you support to trim the state budget? There's an old saying here in New Hampshire. Low taxes are the result of low spending. Let's face it, due to the economic impact COVID-19 had on our state finances, we're going to have to make some tough decisions within the state government to ensure our tax burden does not go up. We will have a robust discussion on this in the coming months, and I look forward to reviewing information from the departments in order to make an informed decision on where cuts can be made.

Name: Anne Copp

Age: Not given

Occupation: Retired

Education: College

Elected experience: State representative

Family: Not given

Why are you running for office? To represent the citizens of Derry who currently are woefully underrepresented.

What would you support to trim the state budget? I am a veteran champion of the New Hampshire taxpayer in 2017. We did not pass a bloated budget. As a member of the Freedom Caucus, we reduced the BPT, business Profits Tax, and the BET, Business Enterprise Tax. I would ask for a 10% reduction across all state agencies.


Name: Mary Eisner

Age: 71

Occupation: Retired

Education: Bachelor's degree in history, Fitchburg State

Elected experience: State representative

Family: Single

Why are you running for office? I am running to offer our community a balanced point of view on issues facing our state and community.

What would you support to trim the state budget? The financial impact of COVID-19 has resulted in revenues declining, which will have a trimming effect on the budget. Measures are already being taken to trim the budget. State agencies have been asked to reduce their budget requests. As a state representative, any bill that I submit will not include a fiscal note which would require funding.

Name: Amy Dattner-Levy

Age: 66

Occupation: Retired teacher, school counselor

Education: Master's degree, educational theatre, school counseling

Elected experience: None

Family: married to Rabbi Peter Levy of Etz Hayim Synagogue, one stepson

Why are you running for office? I am running for office to give more people a voice in Concord

What would you support to trim the state budget? I would look to see where excesses exist and review the needs of the people, and somehow put the two together.

Name: Mary Till

Age: Not given

Occupation: Retired

Education: Bachelor's degrees in engineering and social work

Elected experience: State representative, 2013-2014; Derry Town Moderator, 2016 to 2020

Family: Widow, two stepchildren and four grandchildren

Why are you running for office? I want to stabilize property taxes and get the state to pay its share of education and pension costs; to increase the use of renewable energy by towns, and to support every worker's right to a living wage.

What would you support to trim the state budget? I believe the state has a revenue problem more than a spending problem. We rely on state agencies to do their job and their budgets are already very tight. I would fight to plug holes in existing tax laws that allow some taxpayers to pay less than their fair share.

Name: Johnathan West

Age: 36

Occupation: Director of Technology and Services (Information and Infrastructure Technology).

Education: Pinkerton Academy, studied material science and physics at the University of New Hampshire

Elected experience: None

Family: Partner Keila Melo, two children

Why are you running for office? I believe that our government works most efficiently for people when there are officials in government who represent the goals and lifestyles of the average citizen. As an average private citizen not independently wealthy or retired, I represent the common working person and wish to bring their concerns and voices to Concord.

What would you support to trim the state budget? I would seek to identify loopholes that wealthy corporate interests and private citizens use to avoid paying their fair share as well as ineffective government programs and grants that have failed to live up to the stated goals of their intent.

Name: Thomas Wood

Age: 62

Occupation: Retired

Education: Wentworth Institute in Boston, degrees in engineering, electronics engineering technology.

Elected experience: None

Family: Single

Why are you running for office? My role model is that of Cincinnatus, Proconsul of Rome, who selflessly served the state during a time of crisis. My only goal is for the citizens of Derry and the state of New Hampshire and to be a voice for those of us New Hampshire citizens with lifelong physical, intellectual and developmental disabilities and those with chronic mental illnesses

What would you support to trim the state budget? No response given


Name: Erin Spencer

Age: 44

Occupation: Veterinary technician

Education: Master's degree in adult education, bachelor's degree in history, associate's degree in veterinary technology

Elected experience: None

Family: Husband Sean

Why are you running for office? I was raised to appreciate the importance of community and the role of service to the community. That can manifest in many ways but, for me, I always envisioned it would be as an elected official representing my neighbors. I'm someone who still believes we can find common ground and create laws that benefit the people over either party. Our legislature, like the national landscape, has become extremely partisan and I feel that my approach of focusing on the people over politics is needed now more than ever.

What would you support to trim the state budget? Unfortunately, we are facing shortfalls in our budget due to the COVID pandemic and that may necessitate some scaling back of the budget. However, the budget was already fairly trim so I would challenge legislators to begin to look at new and creative avenues for adding revenue at the state level rather than simply focusing on cuts.

Trending Video

This Week's Circulars

Recommended for you