Marlborough Candidate Statement – Mayor – J. Christian Dumais

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Marlborough Candidate Statement – Mayor – J. Christian Dumais
J. Christian Dumais

Tell us about yourself

I am a 5th generation resident of Marlborough, Small Business Owner for the past 13 years, and have been a City Councilor, representing Ward 3, for the past six years. I grew up in downtown Marlborough on High Street. Before opening my business, I received my bachelor’s in Business Administration from Lasell University and worked at Fidelity here in Marlborough. Shortly after opening my business, I became a member of the Marlborough Regional Chamber of Commerce. In 2014, I was awarded the Entrepreneur of the Year Award for my business efforts. I am the only candidate in this race who has created jobs, managed a budget, led employees, and added to the tax base. I have a proven track record and know what it truly means to be CEO. In my time on the City Councilor, I have passed six city budgets, negotiated several large economic development deals, and voted to keep Marlborough’s tax rate the lowest in the region six years in a row. Within that time, I was also a member of the West Side Fire Station Committee for two years.

For the first time in 10 years, the city will have a new mayor. Should you be elected Mayor, what will be your first goals?

I will act immediately on the West Side Fire Station by recommissioning the West Side Fire Station Committee and reopening negotiations with the property owners of Locke Drive. I will have a study commissioned to assess the conditions of all our water/sewer infrastructure and roads. I will review all the bonds authorized for water/sewer projects and include additional funding to repave the road after every project possible.

Within my first 100 days I will bring in a specialist to assess our current zoning code and work with the City Council to provide recommendations and avoid future Rowe Projects. Richer school is in the process of being reviewed by Massachusetts School Building Authority for funding. On day one, I will start working with the Superintendent and the School Committee on a plan for a new school or renovations.

My administration will also study employee compensation and advancement opportunity and take action ensure our competitiveness as an employer.

Currently, there are several vacancies on Main Street, in addition to the vacant lot next to Welly’s. As mayor, how would you support downtown revitalization?

While I believe we have a healthy and beautiful Main Street, there is no doubt it can be better. I am the only candidate in this race who is a small business owner – and a downtown small business owner to boot. You aren’t going to get another candidate who knows better what small businesses (which is what makes up Main Street) need to begin and remain successful. My Main Street plan was released many months ago and consists of five (5) critical elements:

1. Create a “Main Street Working Group”
2. Work with property owners / Attract anchor stores
3. Consider making Main Street a One-Way / More pedestrian friendly
4. Redevelop the Walker Building
5. Review & update zoning ordinances The most immediate element above is the “Main Street Working Group”.

Getting everyone together at the same table is the first step to identifying what the shared goals are for Main Street. I have built many deep relationships in the business community as a longtime member of the Marlborough Regional Chamber of Commerce and know how to utilize them.

The city recently welcomed homeless families, with most of them housed at the Holiday Inn and Extended Stay. How should the city support these families moving forward? 

I believe the first thing we need to do is bring in a specialist, who is Haitian, to be the coordinator for the administration. We need a central point of contact coordinating social services, transportation, medical needs, and educational needs. My administration will be on the ground working with these families. We will work with social service agencies to provide English classes, job training, and other assimilation efforts to become familiar with Marlborough and America.

I have been moved by the compassionate response by our community since these families arrived. These families will most likely be with us for the coming year. It is imperative that a medium-term plan is put in place that meets the needs of these families and assists them gaining employment. My administration will be keeping all records of costs inferred to the city to forward to the state. I will be advocating persistently to the state for reimbursement of funds. The state must also show a humanitarian response by providing Marlborough with the proper resources.

As Mayor, would you support the building of a West Side Fire Station?

Yes. I have been a leader on the West Side Fire Station since day one as a City Councilor. I have represented the west side for the past six years as the Ward 3 City Councilor. Two of those years I spent on the West Side Fire Station Committee which commissioned a 171-page report to the Mayor on everything from response times to potential locations. I have allocated $7 million dollars toward the West Side Fire Station, which remains intact today. I will recommission the West Side Fire Station Committee and reopen negotiations with the property owners of Locke Drive. While these negotiations are ongoing, I will have the newly commissioned West Side Fire Station Committee renew their search for potential locations. I am committed to keeping the Pleasant Street Station operational. I will utilize the Pleasant Street Station as a “Rapid Response” station for medical, administrative, and other small incident vehicles. This is an immediate public safety issue and I am the only candidate with the experience and knowledge to get it done.

As the Mayor is also chair of school committee, what are the biggest issues facing the school district? 

While there are many issues facing our school district, there are three that I see as an immediate priority: Overcrowding, Increasing Support Staff (paraprofessionals), and Accountability/Discipline. Our overcrowding situation needs to be addressed. The medium-to-long term solution is the rebuilding/renovation of Richer School. I will work with the district to find creative solutions such as realigning district boundaries and consolidating Kindergarten into other under-utilized buildings to address this. Support staff is incredibly important as they are the boots on the ground assisting our teachers and students. We are not paying competitively and are understaffed. These individuals directly assist students and affect our overall educational outcomes. We must create a culture of accountability & discipline within our schools, both behaviorally and academically. Teachers must feel supported and parents must feel safe bringing their children to school. As Chairman, I will set this expectation of our Superintendent and admin.

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