13 Salem Republicans, 10 Democrats compete for general election run

·6 min read

Sep. 11—SALEM, N.H. — There's only room on the November ballot for nine candidates from each political party, meaning voters have some cuts to make at the polls during Tuesday's primary.

The Republican ticket on Sept. 13 includes 13 names, while there are 10 Democrats hoping to advance.

Below are profiles, in alphabetical order, with information about each candidate.

Republican state representative candidates:

Lorie Ball is a retired school teacher. Her resume also includes volunteer time as a court appointed special advocate in the New Hampshire. Her campaign goals focus on parental rights and school safety, no sales or income tax, and protecting the Second Amendment.

Luanne David wants to bring her conservative voice to Concord to advocate for smaller government, lower taxes and freedom of speech. A lifelong Salem resident, David also owns a kitchen and bath design business in town.

Tanya Donnelly is the regional vice chairperson for the Rockingham County and Strafford County GOP, a member of the Salem Budget Committee and president of the Canobie Lake Protective Association. She is an independent business consultant looking to transfer those skills to the House of Representatives. She supports no sales tax, no income tax and small government. She is a self-described fiscal conservative.

Fred Doucette is a four-term state representative who led statewide efforts in 2016 and 2020 to elect former President Donald Trump. Doucette is a former firefighter, paramedic and Navy Corpsman.

Maria Erna owns and operates an independent consulting firm, assisting clients with varying marketing and social media strategies, brand development and events. She has prior experience as a realtor and entrepreneur, founding a pet grooming business in recent years.

Betty Gay was first elected as a state representative in 2016. She supports free speech, the Second Amendment, only justifiable taxation, medical freedom, parental rights, peaceful civil disagreement, school choice and no sales or income tax. She says she has missed only a few days of voting in Concord because of medical issues.

John Janigian is running for his fourth term as a state representative. He first worked in the high tech industry as a programmer and director of engineering, garnering experience in management and budgeting before switching to a career in real estate. In Concord, Janigian co-sponsored a bill that saves New Hampshire residents working at home, for companies based elsewhere, from paying out-of-state taxes.

Dennis Mannion describes himself as a political candidate, not a politician. He is a retired law enforcement officer of 30 years and prosecutor in 10th Circuit Court in Salem. He is a proponent of the Constitution, listing on his campaign website free speech and gun rights, along with paternal rights in school, election integrity, lower taxes and law enforcement support.

Valerie McDonnell recently graduated from Salem High School. She wants a civics course added to the curriculum. She competed in the American Legion oratorical contest and won first place for two consecutive years. As a representative, she says she would make sure the state stays sales and income tax free.

Joe Sweeney was elected to the House of Representatives in 2020. He currently works as state Sen. Chuck Morse's campaign manager. His political career began while simultaneously studying political science at the University of New Hampshire. He served as Chairman of the New Hampshire Young Republicans before moving on to the state Republican Committee and launching a campaign of his own.

John Sytek has lived in Salem for 50 years and is a semi-retired Salem High teacher. He still teaches a Latin course. Sytek has been Salem's treasurer since 1996.

Susan Vandecastelle is a Salem native seeking reelection. Her family has deep roots in the local automotive industry.

Information could not be found about candidate Lisa Vandecastelle Hopkins.

Democratic candidates for state representative:

Gregory Davis says his candidacy is driven by his formal education and careers in information technology, as well as ministry at home and abroad. His focus in Concord would be making healthcare and prescription drugs more affordable and accessible. Davis is an elected member of Salem's Trustee of the Trust Funds.

Sara Dillingham works for an educational nonprofit organization aimed at lessening the achievement gap. She prides herself on her work in advocacy, inclusion and collaboration. She rallied in Concord in 2009 for same-sex marriage legislation.

Information could not be found about candidate Larry Disenhof.

Dionne Garon moved to Salem in 2019. She believes she can bring a fresh perspective to the big issues: taxes, healthcare and women rights, education and local government. Garon attended school in Methuen then earned a bachelor's degree in business administration. She is a self-described finance professional, working currently for a biotech company. She was appointed recently to be an alternate on the Salem Zoning Board.

David Hickernell is a Salem resident of nearly 40 years. He is a retired software engineer and a trustee of the Kelley Library. His goals in Concord are strengthening public schools and lowering property taxes.

Claire Karibian says she will oppose any bill that would increase property taxes. Her focus in office would be improving public schools and infrastructure, in addition to supporting health and family initiatives. Karibian is a member of the Salem Zoning Board of Adjustment and the Conservation Commission.

Donna Loranger retired in 2018 then started in town politics. She won back-to-back contests for the Budget Committee. She is also on a Charter Commission established this year to consider the town's form of government. She's running for state representative now to preserve public schools and lower taxes.

Neil Misra is the son of Indian immigrants and a lifelong Salem resident. He was an intern for Congresswoman Annie Kuster. He feels that rights are under attack, naming the right to an abortion, legalization of marijuana, strong public schools and clean and affordable energy.

Maureen Thibault describes herself as a moderate Democrat; leaning conservative when it comes to the economy and more liberal on social issues. She was a member of the U.S. Women's Army Corp. Thibault is now semi-retired, teaching at a middle school in Tewksbury, Massachusetts.

Bonnie Wright has lived in Salem since 2008, serving in recent years on the Zoning Board of Adjustment. Fellow board members have elected her as chairperson for the last three years. She is the secretary of a Salem Charter Commission, established earlier this year to consider the form of local government. Outside of politics, she was the president of the Salem Farmers Market and provided 440 daily COVID-19 updates for Salem residents on social media.