Meet State Rep. Joel Desilets

Age:

34

Area represented:

Rockingham District 7 (Windham)

Occupation and employer:

Selectman for Windham, NH.

Number of years in NH:

34

Favorite place in NH:

Windham.

Describe NH in three words:

Freedom of opportunity.

Year first year elected to the legislature:

2018.

Legislative priorities:

Protect Seniors from financial abuse and women and children from physical abuse. Increase quality of benefits for veterans. Improve accessibility for disabled persons. Increase transparency and efficiency in government.

What was your path to politics?

Community service has been a lifelong commitment of mine. Despite acceptance to West Point, ultimately I attended University of NH for Engineering because of my vision. I found that volunteering in my city as a Selectman was a way for me to give back and make a difference. Serving now in my 6th year on the Select Board, Planning Board, and Economic Development Committee, I have gained a significant understanding as to the needs and wants of the community. Serving at the next level now as a State Representative allows me to apply knowledge from the local level to best represent my constituents’ needs.

What barriers did you face running for office? How did you overcome them?

I did not face barriers while running for office, but I intend to support improvements that can and should be made to help give a fair election opportunity to people with disabilities and those without the financial ability to compete against incumbent advantages.

What is the most pressing issue facing young people in NH?

Affordable housing supply is limited, and property taxes are rising as local town and school budgets are not being managed conservatively. This makes for unsustainably high cost of living which especially impacts lower wage earners at the beginning of their careers.

How could NH be made even better for young people?

There needs to be greater diversity of businesses encouraged to grow in the state. Many 21st century careers don’t have sufficient opportunity here such as software, robotics, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, fin-tech, health-tech, ed-tech, etc.

What advice do you have for other young people considering running for office?

Carefully consider your values and how strongly you are committed to them. Keep an open mind and have conversations with people you know and trust to broaden your perspectives. Take the time to build a reputation first in your local community, where the the greatest impact can often be made. Regularly attend various board and committee meetings to better understand the needs and wants of your community. When the decision is made to seek elected office, commit to genuine collaboration and avoid divided politics. You can stay true to your values while still treating everyone with respect.

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