To the editor:
I’ve lived in Peabody for most of my life and have experienced firsthand all of the good it offers. But at the same time, residents I chat with agree that our city could be improved. My solid understanding of the issues we face, along with my unique background, would help make Peabody a better place. And that’s why I have decided to run for councilor-at-large, a public position that impacts matters near and dear to Peabody.
If I were to become your voice in city government, my top priority would be helping to create a stronger economy in Peabody. Right now, unemployment here is sadly at 6.8 percent; that translates into almost 2,000 of our residents without work. My small-business background has made me very aware of how government policies help or hurt job creation. That being said, I’d advocate a tax freeze for Peabody — no tax increases and no new fees, period. Moreover, I’d recommend distinct tax rates to encourage the development of two much-needed industries: manufacturing and health care. And to ensure that downtown businesses stay dry and open for business, it’s vital that our flood mitigation strategy be improved. Finally, I’d improve regulations to enable businesses to promote their goods in designated outdoor marketplaces and storefronts. In a time of economic uncertainty, proposals like these would incentivize current and prospective businesses to create jobs here in Peabody and not elsewhere.
Another critical matter is keeping Peabody safe, and public safety is an issue in which I’ve had much experience. Along with working for Homeland Security after the 9/11 attacks, I was a budget manager who was responsible for overseeing financial aspects of national security contracts. Currently, some of Peabody’s first responders have to endure excessive, overly strenuous work schedules. Not only does this jeopardize safety; Peabody’s taxpayers have to pay for sky-high overtime compensation. If elected, I’d use my government budgeting experience to make sure departments are properly and efficiently staffed. I’d also identify unnecessary spending and recommend transferring that money to modernize the equipment for our police and firefighters. Top-notch equipment would make their jobs easier and help keep us safe.
Finally, an important but under-discussed issue is the ability for Peabody’s seniors to find quality housing within a reasonable time frame. As the head of the charity, Making a Difference in Peabody, I routinely aid and work with seniors. You may be surprised, but it can take up to three years for the elderly to be approved for senior housing. At the local level, there are certain measures to help give them the peace of mind they deserve. As your representative, I’d work with all involved in the permitting process, helping cut red tape to accelerate the approval process for senior housing. Moreover, I’d recommend quality, reasonably priced properties for the city to acquire for our seniors.
Over the coming months, I hope to listen to your concerns and further discuss the solutions necessary to improving our city.