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October 29, 2013

At-large councilor candidate 'willing to compromise'

Editor’s note: Seven people are running for four at-large positions on the Salem City Council. The election is Nov. 5.

Jerry Ryan is only half-joking when he says he’s related to everyone in Salem.

One of 14 children in a well-known Salem family, Ryan first learned what it meant to hold elected office when his father, James “Doc” Ryan, was on the School Committee. His wife, Pam, is the niece of former city councilor and State Sen. Joan Lovely.

Ryan, Salem’s Ward 4 city councilor since 2008, is running for an at-large position on the council this fall.

“After six years, I felt it was time to give someone else a chance (as Ward 4 councilor),” Ryan said.

Ryan said he brings his perspective as a parent of school-aged children — a minority, among the sitting councilors — as well as an ability to compromise.

In March, Ryan did some last-minute negotiating with Mayor Kim Driscoll over the proposed senior/community center at Boston and Bridge Streets. Initially opposed to the project, Ryan changed his position after working with Driscoll and is credited with saving the project altogether.

“I wasn’t fan of the (Boston/Bridge) location, but I felt the issue needed to move on; something had to be done,” he said. “... I grew up in a big family; I’m willing to compromise. I’m not stuck on one issue. I think I can bridge the gap. I pretty much get along with everybody.”

On the council, Ryan said he makes decisions based on what’s best for the entire city, not for his own agenda.

Although he said, “I think I have a couple of years left in me,” Ryan said he believes in term limits and doesn’t plan to be on the city council “for life.”

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