BY PAUL LEIGHTON
---- — BEVERLY — When Jason Silva ran for office for the first time two years ago, he cited his job as chief of staff to Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll as good preparation for being a city councilor.
Now that he’s running for re-election, he has another credential to add to his resume. Silva was named executive director of the Salem YMCA in January, a job that he said is giving him more experience that will help in his role as a councilor-at-large.
“I think that does bring a unique perspective to the City Council,” he said. “It helps me understand some of the very difficult choices that are made on a daily basis by the chief executive of the city.”
Silva said he has not been afraid to ask difficult questions in his first term on the council.
He said he has worked with the administration on boosting the city’s rainy day fund, advocated for bidding of all public contracts, and proposed a measure that would allow seniors to volunteer their time in exchange for a modest tax break.
“Generally I’ve brought an understanding of how city government works to all issues in front of us, and I think that’s helped with the council’s decision-making process,” he said.
The next City Council will have several big issues to consider, from improving the waterfront and the downtown to paying for a new middle school.
“There’s a lot going on in the city right now,” Silva said. “We have to make sure when we’re encouraging development that’s it’s appropriate and that it’s reasonable growth.”
As a first-time candidate in 2011, Silva finished second to Paul Guanci to grab one of the three at-large positions.
Silva acknowledged that serving as a city councilor while taking on a new job and raising a young family can be difficult at times. But he said he enjoys being a councilor and is ready to take on another term.
“It’s definitely a juggling act with a demanding job and three young kids at home, but I’ve very much enjoyed it,” he said. “I’m invested in the community. I was born and raised here, I have three kids going through the public schools. It’s a great opportunity to give back to my community.”
Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or email@example.com.
Jason Silva Address: 56 Dane St. Age: 36 Employment: Executive director of Salem YMCA Education: Beverly High School Class of 1995; bachelor's degree in political science from Salem State Family: Wife Theresa; sons Harry, 7; Charlie, 5; Archie, 3 Previous elective office: City councilor at-large 2012-present Community involvement: Former board member of Beverly Affordable Housing Coalition Would you take the city's health insurance?: No Favorite pastime: Playing basketball