John MacDonald is a first time candidate for the Lowell City Council. He lives in the Highland Section of the city and works for Sals-pizza.
1) You’re not well known, have been attacked for being a Republican and for having many outside of Lowell supporters. How’s running for Lowell City Council so far?
My run for Lowell City Council has been great and one of the best experiences of I’ve ever had. I have been knocking on doors since April when I announced my candidacy. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting thousands of people in Lowell since then, which has reassured me of what a great city we have.
Although at the beginning of the race I may not have been as well-known as some established political candidates, I do believe we have narrowed the gap in awareness and interest. My campaign has been issue oriented and we have concentrated on respectful leadership. My candidacy has been aggressive in sharing our views, but most importantly listening to the concerns of the people of Lowell.
I have been in business and work for one of the most progressive and innovative companies in the Merrimack Valley. Through my many years in business I have fostered many relationships in and outside of Lowell. As a candidate it has allowed me to garner support from people I have helped and worked with through the years. Experiences inside and outside the City of Lowell have allowed me to think outside the box and offer ideas for positive change, which if elected I can bring to Lowell City Council.
As far as attacks for being a Republican or Democrat in a non-partisan race… I think they are unnecessary. My campaign and I will not participate in such activity. I don’t see that either party has demonstrated effective leadership on the national level in the last few years and their inability to work together for the American people has put us in a bad position economically. Regardless of party I have always supported who I thought was the best candidate for the job at that time. It’s a shame when people take the divisiveness of party politics and try to apply it to a local race. It indicates to me the lack of interest in making the City of Lowell a better place for its residents and businesses, but rather focusing on shenanigans that takes our eyes off serving the residents in one of the worst economic conditions in our countries history.
2) What do you see has the 3 biggest issues facing the City of Lowell and how would you go about addressing them?
1.Property Taxes and fees: The number one issue I hear from the residents and businesses of Lowell is the aggravation of what people have felt is a constant increase in property tax increases and fees. The economy has put our City in a precarious place. The City Manager has managed the city’s finances effectively and put the City of Lowell in a stable financial position. However it is time to look at alternative ways to raise revenue in the City. The residents and businesses I have talked with feel they can no longer endure the brunt of increases during these worst of economic times.
It’s time to take a proactive approach to business development in the City of Lowell, which will raise additional revenue to allow us to curb additional tax and fee increases. I have outlined these ideas on my website and they have been distributed previously. An example is my idea for a property tax freeze for seniors.
2. Public Safety: A close second on the biggest issues in Lowell that I’m hearing from residents and business is the issue of crime. People overall have expressed confidence in the Lowell Police Department and realize that resources have been diminished. However people would like to see more police in the neighborhoods and would like to see a pre-economic downturn police staffing level make its way back.
Public safety is paramount in providing a positive image both inside and outside the city. Current and potential business must feel confident that their investments in the City are safe. Both current and future residents must feel the same.
The City of Lowell cannot spend money it doesn’t have, however if we concentrate on bringing more tax revenue into the city through an aggressive business development initiatives we can solve out budget issues and create a path to a sustainable longterm economy in Lowell.
3.Business Development: In meeting with current businesses and attracting new businesses in to the City of Lowell, we must become proactive in helping to make out current businesses successful and make the City attractive for new business. I know first-hand the effect of experiencing the impact of an aggressive pro-active business development program.
We have to find new ways of helping to make our current businesses successful and we also have to bring new businesses into the city. Additional business tax revenue is essential to allowing the city to pay for critical and additional city services. I have also outlined this proposal on my website.
3) What do you consider has the most important quality for a Councilor?
Respectful leadership and listening. The two go hand in hand. A councilor should provide respectful leadership. It’s important that the Council and the City Manager work together to provide its residents with the best city services possible along with creating a long term of path of success.
People feel they already have enough public officials talking at them and not enough listening. A city councilor should listen to the people they serve and understand the issues that impact people’s lives on daily basis. In listening a councilor should also propose new and innovative ideas that will positively impact the long term future of Lowell.
4) Are you satisfied with the Police coverage/capacity to protect the citizens/visitors/college students of a first class community. If yes,why? If not, what are your specific proposals to address these needs other than applying for state/federal short term grants?
The Lowell Police Department has proven to be one of the best police departments in the State in my opinion. They have been stretched too thin due to the tough economic times. One of the biggest issues with the residents of Lowell when I knock on their doors is the concern of crime. Residents that I have listened to, want an additional police presence in their neighborhoods and I agree with them. Businesses I speak to also want additional police to discourage crime as well.
Without question there is a need for more police. It is also my opinion that we can no longer depend on or hope that we get a state or federal grant to support our needs. The City of Lowell needs to create an aggressive proactive business development program to bring more business into the city. Only additional tax revenue will allow us to pay for additional police and other critical city services.
5) Do you support the current City Manager?
The role of a city councilor is to manage the City Manager. City Manager Lynch has helped to put the City of Lowell in a good financial position, unlike many Cities and Towns across the Commonwealth. I look forward to seeing a progressive and innovative approach to city government with a newly elected city council. City Manager Lynch has three years left on his contract. Under new direction with a new city council I would look forward to working with City Manager Lynch. Creating a new positive direction for Lowell concentrated on a proactive approach to city government would be my goal. Curbing property taxes and fees, focusing on public safety, helping current businesses and bringing new business to the city of Lowell would be my priorities as a City Councilor.
I would be steadfast in working with the other councilors to ensure that we have common direction and goals to provide the City Manager. I do think City Manager Lynch and his administration are capable of working towards a new positive direction in Lowell.
6) Any upcoming events or contact information you would like to list for people interested in your campaign?
I ask that people please visit my website www.macdonaldforlowell.com , email me at email@example.com or call me at 978-454-0009. Please look in your local newspaper and my Facebook page for information on upcoming events.
GN: Pictures are added by ME NOT the Candidate