Rebecca Perkins is a great example of the young talent that Portsmouth can keep in our community due to our high quality of life and strong local economy. Rebecca goes beyond that, however, bringing a deep set of skills, and a commitment to public service, that is unusually well-matched for the needs of our City Council.
A Commitment to Public Service and the Seacoast
Rebecca is a daughter of the Seacoast, having grown up in the Exeter area (her family owned the local Dairy Queen in Exeter). She stayed in New Hampshire for her undergraduate studies, attending Dartmouth College, before heading off to Africa to help develop local businesses in the Peace Corps. She then returned to the States to earn her law degree from Cornell, and worked as an attorney for a brief time in New York City before coming home to the Seacoast.
Her legal and academic work allowed her to develop her passion for local governance, specifically the impact of land use policy in local communities. Her Master’s Thesis focused on zoning ordinances, and over the past six years, Rebecca has spent much of her time as an attorney and citizen helping New Hampshire cities and towns identify ways to bring down the cost of building housing.
The same desire to give back that drew her to the Peace Corps has translated here locally, too. Rebecca served on the board of the Workforce Housing Coalition of the Greater Seacoast, with an emphasis on attracting and retaining the type of young talent that growing businesses seek. With the University of New Hampshire only 12 miles from Portsmouth, having affordable housing options in such an attractive community for young people is one of the key challenges our local economy faces, and Rebecca has as strong an expertise on the topic as anybody in Portsmouth.
In addition, she is currently a Housing Commissioner for the Portsmouth Housing Authority. In that role, the emphasis is on the older population in our community, as well as those at lower levels of income. In order for Portsmouth to retain socioeconomic diversity, we need leadership that understands all of these groups in our community, and the policy options available for addressing the core need all people have of housing.
The Next Generation of Leadership
Rebecca’s activism has extended to getting more of the region and state’s young professionals committed to staying in New Hampshire, and getting active in their communities. She is currently a Founding Member of the Board of Directors for the 603 Initiative, an organization that empowers and educates young Granite Staters to become involved in their community and advocate for policies that affect them. As Rebecca writes on her website:
We also need to think about what the next great feature of this City will be . It could be more sidewalks throughout other neighborhoods in Portsmouth; transit connecting to downtown; support for the arts community; more bike lanes. How do these ideas fit into what we want our City to be? That conversation should involve someone who understands the current generation of young professionals.
Having seen her in action in her roles as an attorney, a civic volunteer, and a Commissioner, Rebecca’s leadership skills are strong, and her commitment to be a thoughtful voice on a collaborative City Council will make her an exciting, productive councilor for our community. Please check out her website, and “like” her Facebook page. Go to her website to offer to take a yard sign, attend an upcoming meet-and-greet, offer to write a short Letter to the Editor, or volunteer to do some door-to-door with her this fall. If you’d like to make a modest financial contribution to Rebecca’s campaign, you can do that at her website, too. Let’s support Rebecca – she’ll make a positive difference for our community!