TOP ISSUES AND AREAS OF FOCUS
BUILDING ECONOMY OF DOWNTOWN
One of my goals as mayor is to improve economic vitality downtown and in other neighborhoods affected by commercial blight. A lively downtown is a key to a healthy and vital community. We need to bolster commercial activity in downtown Framingham and along Waverley Street (Rte. 135). There's no reason a major part of the marathon route which appears on the national stage each year shouldn't stand out as a bustling hub of our growing city.
IMPROVING COMMERCIAL REAL-ESTATE
In addition, the empty and near empty malls in Nobscot and Franklin Street ("zombie malls") stand out as unnecessary eyesores and threaten otherwise healthy neighborhoods with economic stagnation. We need to push stubborn owners into improving these properties or find ready buyers to invest in their revival. As mayor I would appoint an economic development team to develop the right strategies to keep strong businesses and institutions (like Mass Bay Community College) here and to attract new investment.
On immigration issues, I have become familiar with the struggles of the Brazilian and Hispanic communities. As you are probably aware, the present administration has stepped up its enforcement of immigration policy through Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detainers. This only spreads fear in the neighborhoods and deters undocumented persons from fully integrating in the community and cooperating with police. I would support the police department's current policy of not inquiring of an arrestee's citizenship status. I do however, question the police practice of checking on ICE warrants when arresting an individual and would raise this issue with the Chief.
On Education, the annual battle over the budget is a challenge for anyone that steps into the Mayor's office. Last year alone, school enrollment in PK - 12 increased by 5% and each department struggles for survival. I am also concerned that the recent turnover in our Superintendent's office and High School principal have undermined confidence in our schools. I am hoping that the current leadership can restore some stability to our systems. With the school committee I would work to insure that we can retain talented teachers and preserve essential programs such as Bilingual Ed. and Special Ed.
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