, Salem, MA

October 28, 2013

Sargent: 'I put myself in the residents' shoes'

By Bethany Bray

---- — Arthur Sargent says his main goal as a city councilor is to get people involved and informed about issues in the city. He first ran for office because he felt the average resident didn’t have enough input into city affairs.

Sargent won that race, taking office in 2000, and has been re-elected every two years since then.

Sargent, who works at the Salem power plant, sometimes uses his lunch break to distribute fliers and information in city neighborhoods.

“I try to be the councilor for other people that I wanted for my family when I wasn’t a councilor,” he explained. “I don’t take a position; I just try to get people to attend. ... I just inform people on what’s going on. I get notices out, listen to them when they show up and use that to plan what goes on, to represent them.”

Sargent said his No. 1 issue is zoning, because it affects quality of life for city residents.

When considering an issue, Sargent says the residents are the experts on their own neighborhoods and streets — not him.

“I’ll try to represent them (residents) the way I wanted to be represented — I put myself in their shoes. When they have an issue, I try to act as if I live there,” he said. “I try to get a feel for what they’re going through and use that to help as best I can.”



Address: 8 Maple Ave.
Age: 56
Employment: Computer control technician at Salem Harbor Station power plant
Education: Salem High School, Class of 1974; Salem State College, bachelor's degree in education (1981)
Family: Wife, Kathleen DeFranco; three adult children
Elected offices held: Salem councilor-at-large since 2000
Community involvement: Salem High School football alumni association; volunteer with Salem Boys and Girls Club, Salem Little League, Salem Cartoon league and Salem Project Canine
If elected, will you take the city's health insurance? No
Pastime: Spending time with family