Why are you running for mayor?
I want to
make the city of Lawrence a better place to live. I
want a city where all citizens feel a sense of pride
and don't have to relocate somewhere
else to educate their kids and I want all the
citizens of Lawrence to be able to make a living within
the city and be proud of the city of Lawrence.
What do you do for work?
I am a teacher and an engineer. I design houses, bridges, streets, and I teach math and science at the Great Lawrence technical school sometimes called the "Voke".
Why do you think you are qualified to be mayor?
Well, as you know I know a lot about education. As an engineer and a city councilor I also know a lot about urban planning and quality of life issues like the quality of the water that we drink and the appearance of our city in terms of streets and buildings. I am a strong defender of public safety that is very important in a city like Lawrence.
What are your goals as mayor?
My goal is to keep the city united. My slogan is "One City One Vision." I want everyone to feel like first class citizens here no matter what your background. I don't want to hear anybody talking about "vote Latino," non-Latino. We are all just Lawrencians and it is time people in this city start to put aside the labels so we can work together to solve the problems of the City. I also want to be able to guarantee a good education for every child in Lawrence. I want the kids to have the highest level of education possible so we can compete with other communities. I don't want Lawrence kids to be at the bottom of achievement when it comes to education.
What do you want to change as mayor?
The old arcane system that we have of sharing information between city departments in Lawrence. We need more computers. You know how classroom computers work? We want to use computers to link all the departments like some schools have all the computers linked to each other so we can give the best services to the citizens.
What is your favorite book?
My favorite book is called "First Things First" I don't remember the name of the author.
Did you get all of your nomination signatures yet?
I have plenty but I want to bring them all in at the same time. I want to turn in a whole lot all at once. I will be doing that soon.
What makes a good mayor?
A good mayor is made up of good feeling, dedication commitment integrity and love for the people they serve.
How are you different from the other mayoral candidates?
maturity. I have unique experiences that I think will
make me the best mayor and I respect everybody.
What is the first thing you will do as mayor?
The first thing I will do as mayor is get our fiscal house in order. What I mean to say by that is that I want to make sure the money we bring into the city is spent wisely and that our budgets are fair. We also have to put together a budget that everyone can understand. Right now the city's finances are not what they should be and the first thing I will need to do when I take over as mayor in January is to fix the financial problem so that we can concentrate on other issues, knowing we have the money in the bank to take care of them.
How will you be different as Chairman of the School Committee when you are mayor?
As the head of the School Committee I will bring in different perspective because I have been an educator for almost two decades and I know what kids need. Our schools need better coordination with parents and teachers. The school are not just teachers and students but parents and the rest of the community.
What do you think about the new Lawrence High School having six principals?
I think it's great. We are going to have a huge campus and each academy (building) will do the best they can with each of the concepts they are dealing with. It will work out well for everyone because each building needs someone who knows what is happening in their particular academy and they have to be able to deal with the unique situations that will arise.
I took a tour of the new stadium yesterday and they want to change the new design to include regulation soccer. Do you support this?
Oh, they are going to widen it to make regulation soccer field. I think it is great that we can accommodate the different sports. It will bring a lot of money into the city. One of the things I am most proud of as a city councilor is that when I was council President we approved the stadium renovation project. What that means, is that we had to approve the bond so the Mayor could borrow money to pay for the renovation project. For years politicians have not been able to get that stadium fixed and our council two years ago was able to work with the mayor to make it happen.
Do you support MCAS?
MCAS helps but I don't think it should be so demanding on all students.
Yeah, I don't like MCAS either.
Well, I didn't say I didn't like it, but I do think it needs to be more fair.
Is Wilfredo Laboy a good Superintendent?
Well, it depends. He can be a good superintendent, but he needs a good leader above him. Someone to reign him in. He needs a mayor who knows about education policies and can take control of the superintendent whenever he does something that is wrong.
Do you think good teachers should be paid the same as bad teachers?
You know, if teachers does not abide by the standards we set for them there are ways to give them alternatives to make sure they are doing what we expect of them. I don't think good teachers should be paid the same as bad teachers though, that's just not fair. It's not right.
Where did you grow up and go to school?
I grew up in
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. I also went to Lowell
University and Salem State University.
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