Councilor Joseph D. Kenney
Executive Councilor Joseph D. Kenney of Wakefield, NH was elected on March 11, 2014, to serve as District 1 Executive Councilor in a Special Election that was held to replace the late Raymond S. Burton of Bath, NH. He is currently in his fifth term.
Councilor Kenney grew up in a small business family in Wakefield and continues to live in Wakefield, NH with his wife, Asha and two children: Christian, who is a graduate of Plymouth State University and Chanel, who is a senior at Spaulding High School and who will attend George Washington University in the fall. At a young age Councilor Kenney worked as an auction runner at his family's auction barn in Rochester, NH and picked blueberries during the summer at Daily's Blueberry Mountain Farm in Brookfield to help pay for his grammar school clothes. He went on to become a pot-washer, cook and head cook at Pierce Camp Birchmont in Wolfeboro, NH where he worked for nine summers throughout high school and college. He attended Spaulding High School in Rochester and hitch-hiked 20 miles to basketball practice to play on the varsity team during the winter. He graduated from the University of New Hampshire, majoring in History and minoring in Small Business Management. He traveled as a college junior with a program called Semester at Sea, a college accredited program which allowed him to take international college courses aboard the SS Universe while traveling around the world. He was a Division I NCAA UNH soccer player. He joined the United States Marine Corps in 1980 and after 37 years he retired with the 25th Marine Regiment at Fort Devens, Massachusetts.
In February of 1989 he was pulled from Officer's Candidate School in Quantico, Virginia and honored by the President of the United States at the White House for his work as an enlisted Marine stationed in Washington, DC for collecting over a hundred thousand toys for needy kids in the metropolitan area.
On January 2nd, 2010, he was recognized by the Boston Celtics at center court with the "Heroes Among Us Award" and subsequently went back to Afghanistan to finish his tour. He is a veteran of three conflicts: the Persian Gulf War, the Iraq War and Afghanistan War.
As an Executive Councilor he has worked hard in supporting drug and alcohol prevention projects and programs. In 2021, he received the Kathleen Taylor Legislative Award from the New Hampshire Alcohol & Drug Counselors Association. He secured $300,000 and other state funding for the Bethlehem Friendship House (now the New Hampshire Detox Center) in 2017 and more recently supported a $1 million Business Finance Authority loan to the same facility to support substance abuse disorder programs in the North Country. He has supported millions of dollars on the Governor and Council to combat drug and alcohol addiction in the state. He is a supporter of the White Horse Addiction Center in Ossipee and the CADY Program in Plymouth.
He served fourteen years in the New Hampshire Legislature from 1994 to 2008, serving both in the House and Senate. He was the primary bill sponsor for the New Hampshire Purple Heart Trail Bill, the Midwifery Bill and the Organ Donor Registry Bill. He served as the Senate Transportation Committee Chairman in 2004 and was the Senate Executive, Departments and Administration Committee Chairman in 2006. He has received numerous legislative awards and received a national award in 2007 presented by the National Humane Society for his "Dog Fighting" Bill. In 2008, he was his Party nominee for Governor. He is a former Selectman and a lifetime member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He has worked in the health care and hotel industries and once ran a convenience store outside of Boston in Everett, MA.
In the past two years, Councilor Kenney has worked with the New Hampshire childcare industry to identify solutions to eliminate childcare wait lists, workforce capacity, advanced professionalization and to educate the public on the importance of childcare access.
Councilor Kenney's passion is helping people solve their problems. His hobbies include reading history, outdoor recreation, traveling, collecting old bottles, music and watching the Boston sports teams on TV.