Kevin Leandro, a Families First Pledge signer, is running for state representative in the four-seat district of Belknap 2 (Gilford & Meredith) along with Rep. Colette Worsman, who is running for re-election.
Within his community, Leandro served as a member of the Gilford Budget Committee and took on the “big spenders” in his town, he said. As the owner of a trucking company, he used his credibility to spearhead a campaign to stop the town from spending $500,000 to replace a poorly maintained backup fire engine, he said.
“I made the case that the purchase would be premature and irresponsible in the current economy,” Leandro said. “I argued that the truck was in poor condition as a result of a lack of maintenance and neglect, and that the truck was not beyond repair.”
Leandro said he led the effort at the Gilford Town Meeting in March and again at a special Town Meeting in September to defeat the truck’s replacement. As a result, the town has canceled or postponed other spending desires as well, and the Selectmen are now asking his advice on how to repair and maintain the backup fire truck properly, he said.
Leandro said he has exerted similar pressure on the local school board for “being such poor stewards of taxpayer funds and for blatantly thwarting the will of the voters.” He said the pressure has led school board members to make better choices. This year, the board returned $1 million in surplus funds to taxpayers, when in the past the board would have spent the money on its wish list, he said.
If elected, Leandro said he would bring the same dedication with him to Concord that he gives to Gilford. He said he would request a seat on the Municipal and County Government Committee and pursue a bill similar to HB 1279, which would have changed the role of unelected members of municipal budget committees to make them non-voting advisory members. Because the bill didn’t pass, municipal budget committees still include a selectman and a school board member as well as members from village districts, such as a water district or sewer district, who typically vote to support their own budgets. By making these members advisory non-voting members, they would still be able to defend their budgets, but they would not be able to make direct votes to support them. This would erase the current conflict of interest on such boards, he said, and save families money on their property taxes.