District 1 - Center Harbor / New ampton
Mr. Kavanagh is a candidate for State Rep.
A Brief Introduction…
My name is Sean Kavanagh and I am running for the State Representative for Belknap County District 1; Center Harbor and New Hampton. I have owned a home in Center Harbor for ten years and now in retirement, we are building our forever home where my wife and I can enjoy time with our children and grandchildren.
Born in the UK in 1955, I spent my teen years in Belgium at an American-style high school. From there, in 1973, I attended Merrimack College in Massachusetts where I fell in love with New England and I’ve lived here ever since. I was amazed by how close I was to New Hampshire’s lakes for swimming and mountains for hiking and skiing. I learned to sail on Winnipesauke and to ski at Gunstock.
In the 80s and 90s, I worked and raised a family in Massachusetts. My three children inherited my love of the outdoors and we spent many days together enjoying all four seasons in the Granite State. In 2006 my first marriage ended, and while raising kids as a single dad, I met and married Donna Vaillancourt in 2011 and our family grew to six with the addition of her three kids. As they all left home and graduated college Donna, and I bought our home on the shores of Lake Waukewan in Center Harbor, a place that has become home base for our growing family.
Professional and Community Experience
While busy running a growing business I worked hard to stay involved in my children’s lives and in our community. I served on the PTA, was a member of our church Standing Committee/ Advisory Board, coached soccer, performed in community theater, directed our youth group musicals, and helped found Jericho Road, an organization that connected skilled volunteers to communities in need. I’m an avid cyclist and have ridden the annual 160-mile Pan Mass Challenge for Cancer Research and personally raised over $120,000 for this cause. In 2017, encouraged by Donna who had served in the Peace Corps in Tunisia, we became involved in immigrant rights and sponsored a family of Syrian refugees. The family now lives in Concord, MA where the dad works as a carpenter, and the kids, all now fluent in English, are thriving.
My career focused on building small businesses. A sales and marketing professional, I helped grow several businesses in my forty-year career. The last two decades I grew The Ariel Group, a leadership training company, to over $10 million in revenue. We had over 60 employees and consultants and served major international corporations as well as universities, such as Harvard, government agencies such as Homeland Security, and the CIA. I’m particularly proud of our pro bono work. I believe that successful business should give back to their communities and we offered our work to teachers, at-risk youth, social service agencies, and returning veterans. After a career of returning profits to my owners and investors, excellent service to our clients, and a great work environment to our employees, I left my position as Chief Executive Officer in 2019.
My Life in Belknap County
When I retired from my business, I decided to live full-time at our home in Center Harbor. We’ve got exciting plans for our year-round home and expect to break ground soon. As I became more involved locally, I watched in dismay as Free State extremists, masked as Republicans, had an increasingly damaging impact on Belknap County. The contrast between the politicians and my friends and neighbors couldn’t be starker.
Everywhere I go I meet strong, independent folks who don’t often ask for help but will provide it willingly to neighbors in need. I rarely hear about differences in individual backgrounds, ethnicity, or even politics. What I hear are the things that bind people together; a sense of community and cooperation that is a far cry from the divisiveness of the political classes.
I’ve worked in the local community delivering communication skills workshops called “Better Arguments” that help people from different backgrounds acknowledge their differences while still collaborating on things that matter. I’ve met social workers and businesspeople, nurses and teachers, Christians and Muslims, young and old. And time and again one thing shines through; a love for New Hampshire, Belknap county, and their local towns that goes beyond labels. It is this spirit that inspired me to want to be your state representative.
Why I Am Running and How I Can Help
Serving my community is not something I do out of a guilty sense of obligation. Rather I believe I can help and I have the combination of skills, experience, and energy that will make a difference. I’m not interested in titles or status. I am running for the job of Representative, which means I will “represent” the people of my district on issues that are important to them, not me.
Too many of our current local politicians are only interested in their ambitions and power. Rather than represent their constituents, they are pushing a radical agenda that increases the burden on local towns. And worse, they allow the state government to hold on to money that rightfully belongs to the local towns where it is badly needed.
I want to know what is important to the residents of Center Harbor and New Hampton and I will fight for those concerns in the State House. I am a results-oriented, fiscally prudent, businessperson, and know how to bring diverse perspectives to the table to get things done. I will do that in Concord. The job of state government is to serve the people, not the other way around. We need to invest our tax dollars wisely at the local level, not hoard it at the state level. We need functioning local services, fire and police, roads and bridges, schools and nursing homes, clean lakes and forests. These are what people tell me they need. These will be my agenda as your state representative.
The Biggest Challenges Facing Center Harbor and New Hampton Today
The state government in Concord is cheating local towns out of the money we raise through our property taxes. I will fight to keep more of our revenue here at home to support our schools, fire and police, and town assets. The state has been running a huge surplus for many years, we need to force our governor to invest in our cities and towns rather than push costs down to us in the form of unfunded mandates and increased property taxes.