, Salem, MA

September 12, 2013

Gerard: Looking at the big picture

By Bethany Bray

---- — Note to readers: Incumbent Paul Prevey and challenger Beth Gerard are running for the Ward 6 Salem City Council seat. Kenneth Sawicki, a perennial candidate who is running for every possible office at once, also is listed as a Ward 6 candidate, meaning the Sept. 17 preliminary election will narrow the field to two candidates.

SALEM — When talking of the residents she’s gotten to know during her eight years in Salem, Beth Gerard bubbles over with adjectives:

Phenomenal. Down to earth. Invested. Incredibly smart. Nice. Engaged.

“I could go on for days,” Gerard said. “... I’m really excited about the direction Salem’s going. I feel like we’re going in a very, very good direction.”

Gerard is involved in a laundry list of community and volunteer programs in the city — an intentional choice she made three years ago, when she switched jobs to be able to spend less time commuting and more time in Salem, she said.

“I want to step it up because I know I can do more,” she said. “I can do a lot of great things for this city.”

Gerard, who grew up in Revere and Marblehead, knows the ins and outs of the city’s Planning Board because she is the clerk who takes the minutes. She also works at the Lynch/van Otterloo YMCA and Pamplemousse on Essex Street.

With professional experience in public health and time spent as an Americorps member, Gerard says she has a “big picture” focus and the ability to get things done.

“How do things fit together, how do we make things run more smoothly — it’s about looking at the big picture, but keeping all the moving pieces in mind,” Gerard said. “... A councilor is someone who is not just thinking about what’s going on in their ward, but how it impacts the whole city. And that’s where I think my strength is — how things impact on a larger scale.”