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Claremont City Council has a crowded race for at-large seats

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    Lucas "Rocky Beliveau (Courtesy photograph)

  • Mike Demars (Courtesy photograph)

  • Adam Fontaine (Courtesy photograph)

  • Raymond Hughes III (Courtesy photograph)

  • Nick Koloski (Courtesy photograph)

  • William Limoges (Courtesy photograph)

  • Matt Mooshian (Bruce Denis photograph)

Valley News Correspondent
Published: 10/26/2021 9:25:50 PM
Modified: 10/27/2021 9:50:41 PM

Voting for City Council will be on Tuesday, Nov. 2, with polls open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Voters in Wards I and II vote at the Claremont Middle School and Ward III at Disnard Elementary School.

CLAREMONT — All nine City Council seats are up for election next week, but the four at-large seats are the only contested races on the ballot, with seven candidates.

The top four vote-getters win at-large seats.

Two incumbents of seats representing wards I and II face write-in challenges.

Here are the at-large candidates on the ballot:

Lucas ‘Rocky’ Beliveau

Beliveau, 26, is chef/owner of Rocky’s Taqueria in Opera House Square and has lived in Claremont most of his life.

Beliveau said he sees tremendous potential for the city and he is running because the council will play a key role in that growth.

“We are living in a day of unprecedented changes here locally, nationally, and globally and what we do at the centralized levels like city councils is more important than ever before,” Beliveau said.

Priorities for Beliveau would include utilizing the city’s resources to promote economic growth.

“The budget is also a priority, finding more ways like bike races, concerts in the parks, attracting more fairs — list could go on — to create revenue utilizing our beautiful resources that will not impact the citizens but benefit them,” he said.

He also said he understands the city’s needs for paving roads, keeping the tax rate down and attracting more businesses to fill vacant storefronts.

“These are all ongoing discussions that I feel I can bring a new perspective and strategy to accomplish,” Beliveau said

Mike Demars, incumbent

Demars, 50, was appointed to the council in May to fill a vacancy. He is owner and president of CCI Managed Services, formerly Competitive Computers, and has lived in Claremont all his life. With a well-established business and children in high school, Demars said he can now devote the time required to serve on the council.

“I want to try to take what I’ve learned in 35 years building a successful company and use some of that to build a more successful community,” Demars said.

He has seen the positive change in the city the last several years but doesn’t believe the city’s prosperity matches that of other communities.

“To fix that, I think we need to look at our zoning laws and our codes to eliminate abstract barriers,” Demars said. “We should continue to polish and improve our recreational resources like Arrowhead to attract visitors and active families to live, work and play here. Our roads need serious help and I am committed to honestly making that a higher priority. This will take vision and investment that can yield attractive returns. I’m not a fan of maintaining the status quo.”

Adam Fontaine

Fontaine, who will turn 50 in December, retired from the Air Force after 20 years. He has called Claremont home for about 20 years, broken up between his military service.

“What I want to do is be a public servant for Claremont and actually do what is best for the town,” he said.

Fontaine was critical of the city’s Pleasant Street project, claiming the council did not think it through properly with regard to traffic flow and the timing of the start of the project. Another focus for Fontaine would be city roads, particularly those outside of downtown that he said have been neglected and in some cases not repaired properly.

“It is just a matter of being in the service, when I see something wrong there comes a time when I have to step forward and do what is best,” Fontaine said. “I have seen too many things for me to just sit still and not provide my service. This is a challenge I am ready to take on. As a military man, I am used to getting things thrown at me and getting them done to the best of my ability.”

Raymond Hughes III

Hughes, 38, grew up in Claremont and graduated from Stevens High School in 2001. He moved back to the city in 2019 to raise his family.

Hughes, who served in the U.S. Marine Corps on active duty from 2006 to 2010 and reserve duty for six years after that, works in the construction monitoring field.

“I have a vested interest in our local government to operate in an efficient, transparent and cost-effective manner,” Hughes said, citing his reason for running. Holding down the property tax rate would be a priority for Hughes if elected.

“Over the course of the next two years, I would like for the elected representatives and the city officials to communicate more effectively and work as team to find additional revenue sources in order to keep the property tax down,” Hughes said.

“The primary issues I see facing this city are the roads and infrastructure and an imbalance between fair market housing and subsidized, low-income housing,” he continued. “These issues will remain if we don’t come together to strategize new ways to increase funding without constantly re-appraising and raising property taxes on the people who call Claremont home.”

Nick Koloski, incumbent

A lifelong resident of the city, Koloski, 44, is seeking his seventh two-year term on the City Council. He is co-owner of a few businesses including Time Out Americana Grill and Escape Factory, both in Claremont.

Housing tops his list of priorities and he hopes Claremont can emerge as a model for solving the housing crisis.

“I would be looking at how we can become a New England leader in addressing the housing concern that has a chokehold on development and is causing issues for employers,” Koloski said. “I have sounded the alarm that I am hearing from employers that are struggling to house employees. From regional employers, there is talk of potentially having to leave the area because of this. This is avoidable.”

Koloski wants the city to operate “smarter” and within it means.

“I have stated recently I am sick of the city slow-walking on projects; I want to pick up the pace and run,” he said. “Not everything needs to be kicked to a study, or board to be drawn out and forgotten.”

Koloski would like to work on getting some parcels back on the tax rolls and streamlining the process for businesses.

“We need to be open for business and to me that is more than saying we are open for business. It’s how you answer the phone, the fees you charge, and eliminating unnecessary hoops that someone needs to jump through. Simply put, cutting red tape.”

William Limoges

Limoges, 61, has lived in Claremont nearly all his life. He has been in the heating business for 35 years, and for the last six years has owned Bill Limoges Heating Services.

“I feel Claremont is on the right track to recovery, and for that to continue it needs strong, responsible leadership, and that is what I will bring to the council,” Limoges said.

If elected he wants to focus on several areas that would promote the city as a safe place to live and raise a family and also start and maintain a business.

Another goal would be to work with landlords and encourage them to invest in their properties through incentives to make improvements that could help stabilize the tax rate, clean up neighborhoods and reduce crime.

“I want to see Claremont follow through with its investment in Pleasant Street, and work on cleaning up the areas around the new construction,” Limoges said.

Finally, he would work to strike a balance between keeping the city portion of the tax rate low without cutting essential services and promises to have open communication with residents.

“I want citizens to contact me with their concerns, and ideas,” he said.

Matt Mooshian

Mooshian has lived in Claremont for five years and works as a community organizer.

Since coming to Claremont, Mooshian, 27, said his work has introduced him to area organizations and businesses and said it has been “amazing” to watch the recent growth including the Pleasant Street project, the redevelopment of the Peterson Mill and the planned move downtown of the West Claremont Center for the Arts and Music.

“I am running for City Council and I want to serve because I want to continue to build on that progress,” Mooshian said. “A lot of people have put in a lot of hard work to get us here and I want to continue to shepherd that.”

Mooshian said in his conversations with voters, three main issues have emerged that he will focus on: housing, culture and infrastructure.

“We are having a housing crisis, so I want to look at zoning and our land use ordinances,” Mooshian said. He also wants to start an Arts and Culture Commission to build on what is happening downtown and increase public art.

“I think it would do wonders for the city,” he said.

Mayoral candidatesand Ward I, II and III

In uncontested races, incumbent Dale Girard is running for mayor to replace Charlene Lovett, who chose not to run. City Councilor Debora Matteau is on the ballot for assistant mayor to replace Allen Damren, who also decided not to run.

Incumbent Ward I Councilor Andrew O’Hearne is facing a write-in challenge from Tyler Sullivan, a student at River Valley Community College.

James Contois, Ward II councilor, faces a write-in campaign from Planning Board member Dave Pacetti. Ward III Councilor Jonathan Stone is unopposed.

Patrick O’Grady can be reached at

Claremont Ward I City Councilor Andrew O'Hearne is facing a write-in challenge from Tyler Sullivan. Councilor Jo nathan Stone is unopposed in Ward III. An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated where Sullivan is running and what ward Stone represents.

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