, Salem, MA

October 25, 2013

Famico: aiming to be a consensus-builder


---- — Two candidates are on the Nov. 5 ballot for Ward 2 City Council in Salem. Today we offer profiles of the candidates.

SALEM — Heather Famico, who is running for the Ward 2 City Council seat, has deep roots in the community.

Her father, Don Famico, is the city’s part-time animal control officer. Her aunt, Frances Grace, is a former city councilor. Her uncle, John Famico, ran a barbershop downtown. And her grandfather, Frank Famico, was manager of the old Goldsmith’s News Agency.

The 27-year-old Malden schoolteacher, making her first run for elective office, said she will be a communicator and consensus-builder on a City Council that she feels could use both.

“In general, I’m a fixer,” she said. “I think we need city councilors who are honest with people and don’t just ramble on. I’m more of a doer than a talker.”

Famico has used Facebook during the campaign to post meeting notices, photos and blogs about city issues. A city councilor, she says, should both talk to residents and empower them with information.

“I’d like to make voters part of the process by giving them information in advance (of meetings),” she said.

Going door to door, Famico has been struck by the rundown condition of many apartment buildings with absentee landlords and the general lack of cleanliness on many city streets. “I don’t like walking 10 feet and picking up 10 pieces of trash,” she said.

She also wants to improve bike and pedestrian access, especially in the car-clogged downtown. “If people have a hard time parking, we want to encourage more people to bike and walk,” she said.

Salem has changed since she was a child, Famico said, and needs new leadership from councilors who seek collaboration.

“We are now a diverse, urban city,” she said in a campaign handout, “and need solutions, not just people stating the problems.”

Tom Dalton can be reached at