Shrewsbury – Three candidates will be on the ballot for one seat on the Shrewsbury Housing Authority in the Tuesday, May 7 Annual Town Election. The Community Advocate has invited the candidates – incumbent Paul Campaniello and Brenda Brown and Beth Shea Bryant – to share a bit about their backgrounds and why they are running for this position. Here, in their own words, are their answers.
Paul Campaniello – I am a lifelong resident of the community. I am married with two children. Professionally, I have held several executive roles at a variety of Boston-based technology firms. In addition to my work on the Shrewsbury Housing Authority, I was a founding member of Shrewsbury Oil Assistance Relief. I have been a Town Meeting Member since 1989 and have served on several charitable and municipal committees; currently serving on the Beal School reuse committee. Additionally, after I lost his best friend to ovarian cancer, I started my own charitable organization in her name to help women battling ovarian cancer.
Shrewsbury Housing Authority (SHA) is considered to be one of the best run authorities in the state and I’m running for re-election, because I don’t want to see that change. I’m running for re-election because serving the seniors and less fortunate members of our community for the past 10 years has taught me how critical it is that this position is held by someone who is compassionate and has demonstrated proven, balanced leadership. I have gained the trust and support of those who have seen me working hard and I believe I have been an effective advocate for the SHA.
During my tenure on the Shrewsbury Housing Authority, we have returned over $400,000 to the town, while increasing housing (new units on Ridgeland Road) and providing services to the town (Council on Aging van subsidiary). We have launched a new website and modernized our systems/security. I want to continue this type of work. However, the projects that I am most interested in pursuing center around the creation of new affordable housing; much like the project we did in partnership with the Mass Dept of Mental Health and the Affordable Housing Trust initiative we are working on with the Planning Department.
Brenda Brown – A longtime Shrewsbury resident, I have a fresh vision to improve housing in Shrewsbury. Having 33 years’ experience serving homeowners as a Real Estate Broker, I have unique capabilities to serve on the Shrewsbury Housing Authority Board. My expertise in corporate relocation, and new construction development, make me the best candidate for the Board. I specializes in new construction and am a former Toll Brothers Sales Manager, A.J. Lane Development Director of Sales New England, Cutler-Brown Development Partner/Owner, and currently Brown & Brown Real Estate Partner/Owner. I am the founder of an established charity called Roll for Cancer and have partnerships with Dana-Farber Cancer and UMass Memorial.
I am an advocate for senior and veteran housing. My priority is to create and develop new housing for the residents of Shrewsbury. The Shrewsbury Housing Authority Board is a public agency that develops and operates rental housing for low income households. I see the vital need for NEW affordable housing that is evident in the long wait periods for the displaced and underserved town residents. Most of the current affordable housing has been built back in the 70s with only 3 new single family houses added in the last 10 years and some scattered 1 and 2 bedroom units 15 years ago.
The Shrewsbury Housing Production Plan has been state approved by DHCD. I will work closely with the Planning Board in order to help create, preserve, and maintain affordable housing in Shrewsbury. SHA owns land; I am proposing to coordinate efforts with Habitat for Humanity and plans to combine volunteers, builders and vendors to build a home for a family in need. If elected, I have a homeowner who has a vacant apartment already available for a senior citizen or veteran in need. I believe that together, we can create new, clean, safe, smart, and affordable housing!
Beth Shea Bryant – I grew up in Shrewsbury and attended Shrewsbury Public Schools, graduating from SHS in 1980. When the time came, I sent my own daughters to Shrewsbury schools. I hold a Masters degree in Nursing; as a Care Manager for a Senior Care options program, I provide care on a daily basis to elders in their homes. I am a Town Meeting Member from Precinct 8, and serve on the Commission on Disabilities. I live on Woodway Drive with my daughters, Kerry and Siobhan, and our dogs. Our dog Baxter and I are a Therapy Team at Worcester Recovery Center.
I’m running for a seat on the Shrewsbury Housing Authority because, as a nurse, I provide care for residents in public housing facilities across the commonwealth. I have seen both outstanding facilities, and those that sadden and disappoint me. As a Shrewsbury resident, I want the best for my neighbors, especially our seniors and those with disabilities. I’ve spent my adult life caring this population and have years of practical experience with regulations, budgets, and supervising staff. I believe everyone should live in dignity. I will take the caring approach I bring as a nurse to deliberations on the board.
While I have an interest in all issues impacting residents of Shrewsbury’s public housing properties, one project I intend to undertake as a Commissioner will be to pursue closed captioning for televised presentations of Housing Authority meetings, and assistive listening for those in attendance. For those residents of our public housing properties who are hearing impaired, their access to important discussions about policy and direction of our housing properties is limited. This is an oversight that can be corrected, in a manner that will increase the ability of all residents to fully engage with the Housing Authority.