I was born and raised in Brunswick and I’m proud of our rich history. But I believe Brunswick could be a much better place for all of us. It starts with a city government that listens to its people, involves them in decision-making, and motivates them to work together to achieve a shared vision. As a candidate for Mayor, these are my major concerns:
Open government and community involvement — We need a Mayor who communicates better with the City Council and the citizens about issues and actions. Too often the elected Council is treated as an after-thought. We need a sense of shared priorities to guide our programs and investments. This will only happen with timely communication. As Mayor, I will bring back Council and citizen participation in important committees, such as finance and utilities. Civic participation should be encouraged. I will reduce the number of closed-door meetings and increase public meetings. Your government’s business deserves to be done in public and on a timely basis. I will make your visits to City Hall a welcoming experience and I will make sure emails and phone calls are returned promptly.
Leadership — Mayors should have more than a ceremonial role. Mayors are chief executives who set broad policy goals and work collaboratively with both opponents and supporters to achieve their goals. Our current Mayor defers to an appointed administrator who spends only four days per week in Brunswick and lives on the other side of the state. I would replace this administrator with one who works better with the Council, city staff and volunteers. Appointed staff should carry out the Mayor and Council’s agenda, not vice-versa.
Economic growth — While other towns in our region appear to prosper, Brunswick’s economy has stagnated. We’ve all heard the complaints about what’s wrong. Our economic problems need to be taken seriously. As Mayor, I would convene a work group made up of local business people, committed volunteers and regional and statewide experts to look at the experience of Brunswick and other towns to find the best practices and policies to help us define what success looks like. I would make follow-up action a priority on any promising recommendations.
Saving our history — When the Mayor refused to recognize the Brunswick History Commission last year, I joined with other Council members to restore its status. I was also the principal negotiator on the contract to acquire the Brunswick Museum building and help keep this institution for future generations. Now we are in danger of losing our WB Tower because the current administration has not acted to move it to its new location, even though grant funds were available for this very purpose. My dad worked in the WB Tower for many years and I am committed to saving it. Preserving other historic sites, such as the Berlin Cemetery and the Horine and Kaplon buildings, will be priorities in my administration.
Financial management — A healthy fund balance is a sign of a well-managed city. Large surpluses contrasted with crumbling infrastructure, such as our roads, show a failure to plan and execute. Tax dollars and utility payments don’t belong in the bank, they belong in necessary improvements and capital projects. As a career healthcare financial professional, I understand how to budget, how to monitor expenditures, and how to communicate financial information. I will make sure our tax dollars are spent wisely while keeping government affordable for those who live here.