DERRY — Two local women face off in an upcoming special election to choose Derry’s new state representative in Rockingham County District 6.

Republican Jodi Nelson goes up against Democrat Mary Eisner for the state position.

Voters in all Derry districts will head to Calvary Bible Church on Dec. 7 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Nelson came out on top for the Republican spot in the Oct. 19 primary election, beating out challengers Neil Wetherbee and Tom Cardon.

Eisner ran unopposed for the Democratic spot.

The election comes with approval from Gov. Chris Sununu and the state Executive Council, after Rep. Anne Copp moved out of town earlier this year.

Copp, a Republican, was elected as a Derry state representative in November 2020, joining nine others who make up District 6 legislators — Phyllis Katsakiores, David Milz, David Love, Richard Tripp, Erica Layon, Katherine Prudhomme-O’Brien, Mary Ann Kimball, Stephen Pearson, and John Potucek.

Both candidates responded to several questions seen below (in alphabetical order).

Mary Eisner

Why are you running for state representative?

I am running to be Derry’s state representative because I believe it is an elected official’s obligation and duty to protect the public’s health and safety, regardless of political affiliation, and to make legislative decisions based on its merits.

New Hampshire is currently experiencing increased cases of COVID-19 comparable to the height of the pandemic last year and has not reached herd immunity. As of Nov. 19, the rate was 54.9% fully vaccinated. Yet, the Executive Council and Fiscal Committee voted to reject $27 million in Covid relief federal funds. After a public outcry and several weeks delay, the Executive Council approved accepting $22 million. This lost time allowed the pandemic to spread. New Hampshire has joined a law suit with other states against federal mask and vaccination mandates. How many lives will be lost, how many jobs lost and economic damage needs to happen before the governor and legislature will take measures to contain this pandemic? Such lack of leadership will result in an unending pandemic.

I also believe it is the government’s responsibility to adequately fund our public education system. Public funds are now being used to support private, religious and home schooling, jeopardizing funding that is needed to sustain our public school system.

As your representative, I will support efforts to contain this pandemic and support our public school system.

What do you feel are the top qualities that would make you a good representative of Derry?

I served as your New Hampshire House representative from 2018-2020 and was a member of several town committees, a volunteer for the town for several elections and served as a volunteer for a non-profit. The experience in the House provided me with the opportunity to be a productive and effective representative. My work on town committees, as well as other volunteer work, has provided me the understanding of Town issues firsthand.

What would be your top priorities if elected?

The impact of COVID-19 should not only be a state priority but, also Derry’s. It is not only a government responsibility, but also an individual’s responsibility to do their part to contain this pandemic.

Keeping our public schools adequately funded is another priority. Given the impact and provisions of the recent budget, funding for our public schools is in jeopardy and the teaching of our history is restricted.

I will support measures to adequately fund and preserve our public school system and measures to prevent and contain this pandemic.

What are Derry’s most challenging issues that you would want to see addressed if elected?

The consensus of voters that I have heard from is that they are concerned about the increase of COVID-19 cases and that the voucher program using public funds to finance private, religious and home schooling which will result in decrease funding for public schools and consequently raise property taxes.

It is imperative that our public school system be able to provide our students with the tools and resources they need in order to lead a productive and successful life.

Our students are our future.

Jodi Nelson

Why are you running for Derry state representative?

My husband, Scott, and I moved to New Hampshire 13 years ago because we fell in love with New Hampshire’s low taxes, natural beauty, great schools, and low crime. It is an incredible place to raise a family and we were fortunate enough to raise ours here in Derry. I’m running because I believe other families in town deserve the same opportunity to thrive and I want to be a voice for Derry’s families, businesses and students. I intend to be a fresh, positive voice in Concord who will advocate for our town, build new relationships with state agencies, and work with my colleagues to ensure our state remains one of the best in the country to start a business, a career, and a family.

What do you feel are the top qualities that would make you a good representative of Derry?

I have 15-plus years as a business professional in healthcare and private equity industries and entertainment and food industry start-ups. Volunteerism is also very important to me and I have been involved with the Sonshine Soup Kitchen, Salvation Army, the PTA and the Boys and Girls Club, along with numerous other organizations including my children’s extracurricular activities. By actually working shoulder-to-shoulder and participating in organizations across town, I can truly relate with the small businesses, parents, and students and their needs. My ability to work alongside people of different backgrounds and personalities will enable me to work with Derry’s stakeholders and allow me to build the important relationships in Concord that will really make a difference for our community.

What would be your top priorities if elected?

My first priority will be constituent service and working with our town’s stakeholders to ensure the state isn’t adopting policies that will adversely affect our businesses, and working families. Unfortunately, it is too late in the legislative process for me to submit legislation by the time I am sworn in, but I believe my relationships with current elected officials in the House and Senate as well as the governor’s office will quickly enable me to work on our town’s behalf. I’ll be a staunch opponent to new taxes and fees on working families and unnecessary regulations on our business community. Lastly, I love that New Hampshire has a low crime rate and I will always be supportive of policies that keep our community and families safe.

What are Derry’s most challenging issues that you would want to see addressed if elected?

There are three immediate issues that come to mind for Derry. First, I want to work with my colleagues in the Derry delegation to ensure Exit 4A is completed in a timely manner and with Derry’s needs being met. Secondly, I want to continue the great work our House and Senate has done by bringing more revenue to the town of Derry that can be used for town services, educating our children, and lowering property taxes. This was done by increasing our Rooms and Meals percentages and taking surplus revenue and returning it to municipalities. Lastly, the issue I hear of the most is a lack of positive leadership and communication in Derry. I will be a fresh voice who will seek to bring all parties together. Politics in town have become very polarized and I hope to work on our community’s behalf in a positive, transparent fashion in Concord and in Derry. I will always seek constituent input and the opportunity to hear from my neighbors.

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