Dear Friends and Sponsors,

On behalf of the Josiah Bartlett Center, thank you to all for attending our Libertas Award dinner. Tonight we celebrate Raymond J. Wieczorek and the commitment to principled and limited government. The Libertas Award is named after the Roman goddess of Liberty and is meant to symbolize the inseparable link between individual and economic freedom that is at the core of the mission of the Josiah Bartlett Center.

Ray Wieczorek embodies the qualities we seek to honor tonight like few others in and around New Hampshire politics. He moved from remarkable business success to decades of public service and managed to stay one of the finest gentlemen you’ll meet in your life.

Ray grew up a Connecticut farmboy but came to New Hampshire more than fifty years ago. Like so many of us, he’s from away but decided to raise a family and make a living in New Hampshire.

He started a business with two pencils, a briefcase, and shoe leather waiting to be worn out. Hard work and sunny optimism transformed the business from nothing into Wieczorek Insurance, one of the most successful independent insurance companies in the state.

He quickly gained a reputation as a problem solver and served as Mayor of Manchester for a decade. Coming into office at the height of a recession when the city was 296 out of 300 small cities in livability, Ray made the tough decisions he became known for. Fiscal restraint and a never ending commitment to economic development turned the city around. At the end of his tenure, Manchester was ranked the #1 small city to live in.

You and I might retire to rest on our laurels but Ray wasn’t done. He served eleven years on the executive council gaining a reputation for paying attention to the details of management and operation. He served under governors of both parties and it’s no surprise the Governor’s efficiency commission he helped manage found $417 million in savings.

Governors Ray served under always found the same thing: a man committed not to partisanship and grandstanding but to details and tough questions. While he agreed and often disagreed with governors and officials, they uniformly found him to be agreeable and interested in the truth and better operations.

It is an honor and privilege to bestow our Libertas Award on one of the nicest people we know and someone we are both proud to call a friend.

Rich Ashooh & Charlie Arlinghaus

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