Friday, September 16, 2011

Meet the Candidate: Matthew Richard

Here is our final pre-primary meet the candidate. Today, one of our younger candidates, Derby Street neighborhood resident Matthew Richard, answers our questions. Endorsements by Monday. As for meet the candidate, I made the offer to every primary candidate I could find an e-mail address for. If you haven't seen them, it's not because I didn't want them.

Tell us about your background?

I was born and raised in Lynn, graduating from Lynn English 1993, achieved my Eagle Scout that summer and attended Basic Army Training at Fort Leonardwood. After that I studied at the US Army Academy of Health Sciences at Fort Sam Houston and from there went on to attend St. Michael’s College, where I received my BA in History (1998). After college I took a full-time job at Salem Hospital as a Surgical Technician, where I am currently employed.  I moved to Salem shortly thereafter and have been here ever since.

What made you decide to run for city council?

My decision to run for city council was the result of many conversations in recent years with fellow residents and local business owners regarding our mutual disagreements with actions taken by the current city council.  We felt someone had to represent our ideas and I decided to take on the challenge. We live in a city that conducts business in a manner more befitting of a small town and I feel that needs to change in order for us to advance economically.

What do you think are the biggest issues that Salem faces in the near future?

I feel that the biggest issues that Salem faces in the near future are 1)bringing a more cohesive neighborhood infrastructure to the area known as “The Point” and 2)redevelopment of contaminated land for profitable repurposing.

What do you bring to the table, that some other candidates might not?

I think I could bring a sense of decisive action. The current city council seems to drag its feet and take their time with issues. At my day job, our tasks need to be completed daily and we cannot afford to put off decisions until tomorrow. I want to take action and help bring Salem to its full potential as a City. I want to keep it beautiful for its residents, enticing to its visitors, and bridge the gap between those who are making the rules and the future residents and commerce we are trying to bring here.

Do you have any specific legislative goals?

I would like to inject some common sense into the current city council regarding which issues take priority when making decisions that affect downtown businesses and all Salem residents. It seems to me that, while some issues get focused on, other, more significant concerns get delayed. For example, the council seems more concerned about enforcing A-frame ordinances than initiating a community action program for the neighborhood known as “The Point”. I also think we need to work on being more consistent when it comes to enforcing existing legislation, particularly around issues such as licensing.

Anything else you think we should know?

My fellow Salem residents and businesses spurred me to run for office and I am pursuing this for the greater good of the City, not for personal gain. I am not looking at this position as a stepping stone to higher office nor as a supplement to my current income. I am doing this because I am proud of my city and want to see us reach our goals instead of just talking about them.

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