Marlborough Candidate Statement – Mayor – Samantha Perlman


Marlborough Candidate Statement – Mayor – Samantha Perlman
Samantha Perlman

Tell us about yourself

I am a proud product of our city. Offering a broad background, distinct citywide elected service and specialized training, I am prepared to serve as our Mayor. I am a lifelong resident and graduate of the public schools. My professional background is in nonprofit civic engagement, where I helped pass the state law on civics. This fall, I will complete my law degree at Boston College Law School. I am also studying urban planning and environmental policy at Tufts University, filling knowledge gaps in current city leadership. I am honored to be in my fourth year as your City Councilor At-Large and met thousands of residents at their doors in my last two elections, where I was fortunate to receive the most votes. As part of the Finance Committee throughout my Council tenure, I have shaped four budget processes and worked to maintain our low tax rate. I have robust relationships with our state and federal leaders, necessary for infrastructure investment. As a climate advocate, I am equipped to proactively tackle local climate resiliency.

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?

My goals are informed by my citywide council service encompassing long-term planning, supporting our schools and centralizing our environment. I will hire a City Planner to gather and assess data on our population, zoning, growth, transportation, incomes, traffic and walkability to align with community input so we proactively predict and address our city’s needs, such as infrastructure upgrades and actualizing a long-overdue West Side Fire Station. Building upon the dedication of our school district, I will invest in and retain our staff through competitive salary packages, prioritize building capacity to lower our student to teacher ratio and improve the classroom experience. Further, I will deepen varied enrichment, expanded literacy and STEM programs, internships and project-based learning. I will also be a climate champion, mitigating environmental impacts like flooding to protect our homes. We will conserve open space, increase our tree canopy to combat rising heat, and guarantee every resident access to parks and recreation.

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?

A robust downtown is the beating heart of our city. As Councilor, I led advocacy for public art downtown to make it an attractive destination for residents and tourists alike, driving foot traffic and developing a distinct identity. I will build upon the existing pop-up shops and support the growth of community-focused hubs, like the farmers market. As Mayor, I will partner with the Chamber and MEDC to attract businesses into vacant storefronts and build relationships with local landlords. I will bolster the MEDC toolbox program for more funding to start, expand, and improve small businesses. Whether living out downtown’s designation as a state cultural district or building off Museum in the Streets and our library renovation, downtown will be a vibrant city center. Developing a downtown revitalization plan with direct community engagement will be essential. I will spearhead pedestrian-friendly streetscapes, offering more local festivals, increased outdoor dining and musical entertainment so downtown reflects Marlborough’s future.

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 am proud to see community members, organizations, and our school district actively welcome our newest residents. Many of these individuals are fleeing unimaginable conditions, and deserve the dignity of a safe place for their families. I have visited the Holiday Inn and spoken with Eliot Community Human Services to understand anticipated needs. As a Councilor, I am in touch with our state and federal leaders so we have resources to effectively help families and will advocate for increased work permit authorization for local jobs. I will collaborate with surrounding towns to combine advocacy and services. Transportation remains one of the biggest hurdles for new families and I will invest in MWRTA buses and expansion of our city commuter rail shuttle. I anticipate future supply needs, language services, transportation, and school support and look forward to partnering with our community to tackle these challenges. I will also centralize opportunities for residents to volunteer their time and talents to support our newest residents.

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

Yes, I support building a West Side Fire Station and have been active in pushing for its fruition as a City Councilor. With the increasing development and growth already happening here, it is vital that our city services and infrastructure effectively support our entire city. With a large percentage of emergency calls originating from the western part of our city, the current location and size of our stations cannot sustain the current service demand. I appreciate the incredible work of our firefighters who continue to keep our residents safe under the current infrastructure. After speaking with the Fire Union and Fire Chief, I heard related concerns about increased staffing, cost of living in the city and desire for better communication with the administration. Supporting our firefighters through adequate facilities, safe equipment, competitive packages and a high-quality workplace is essential for making sure Marlborough Fire is a place where our employees can start, grow and carry out their careers.

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

Our staff and the diversity of our district are wonderful strengths. Having spoken with our Superintendent, several School Committee Members and teachers, I have gained a nuanced perspective on district challenges which are also great opportunities for investment. These include building capacity constraints, a rising student population, a diverse set of student learner and language needs, mental well-being across the district and confronting absenteeism and learning loss. I look forward to partnering with our district to invest in our academic programs, sports and the arts so students maintain a holistic educational experience. I will help actualize the district’s vision to decrease class sizes, particularly at the elementary level, and add seats in our universal pre-K program, expanding the hours to support working families. We must also provide our staff at all levels competitive benefits and develop strong pipelines for MPS graduates to return and work in our city.

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