At the heart of my vision for the city of Lowell is the belief that government, when run rightly, can improve the lives of people. Lowell should be about performance-driven results, but should also bring about a more participatory process where sustained citizen engagement can lead to continually improved results. Only together can we decide how we best invest our resources to meet the needs of all our people, not only today, but for generations to come.
It is important as an elected official to focus on the basics of what makes a city work well. While all of these areas may seem simple enough, they also all require leaders to think creatively and work collaboratively to develop innovative policies, programs and projects which encourage more inclusion and greater investment. None of this can be done in isolation, but must work wholly in concert with one another.
All Lowellians should have a safe, affordable place to call home. With zoning and permitting changes, we can encourage more affordable housing development near transit stops and more live/work spaces. A proactive inspectional services department can ensure a high quality of housing, and foreclosure prevention programs can help keep people in their homes and strengthen our neighborhoods.
All of our young people should have access to a safe, high-quality public school education that will prepare them for whatever path they choose. As leaders of the classroom, teachers should be professional practitioners, expected to raise student achievement with creativity and with support from principals, peers, parents, community, business and social service partners.
All Lowellians should be well-prepared for jobs with livable wages, but they should also have the opportunity and support to start their own enterprises. Changes to zoning can create more affordable start-up space, city partnerships with the community college and university can help develop new and existing businesses, and local investment through purchasing policies and in our technological infrastructure can further the growth of others.
All Lowellians should have access to safe, clean, complete streets that comfortably connect us to where we want to be, when we want to be there. Whether traveling on foot, by bike, bus, car or subway, we need to invest in our city’s public transit so that we may keep developing in a sustainable way. In an age of tight budgets, we must also find innovative ways to support fire fighting, fire prevention, and smart policing efforts to keep our streets and neighborhoods safe at all hours.
Lowellians of all ages should have places, spaces, and venues for fun. Whether playing sports in safe, clean and green parks, listening to music or enjoying food on the streets, gathering and creating art in galleries or on the sidewalk, residents should be free to develop and share their talents in welcoming, creative public spaces. These exchanges and this sense of fun are what make cities vibrant centers for living, learning and working, and what will continue to make our diverse city a model for others.