Guest Op-Ed: Councilor Fred Capone Announces Candidacy for Mayor

By Councilor Fred Capone, Candidate for Mayor

It is with great enthusiasm that I formally announce my candidacy for Mayor of the City of Everett. I am running for Mayor because I believe TOGETHER we can Build A Better Everett for ALL of us, based on respect for one another and with the goals of prosperity and inclusion for EVERY resident.

I am proud to be from Everett.  For me, there was never any doubt about the right place to live, operate a business, or start a family.  The choice was always Everett.  I even met my wife, Michele, 32 years ago during my first campaign for public office at her front doorstep – here in Everett.  We will celebrate 27 years of marriage in June and have raised our family in this great city.  My Everett roots continue to grow deeper and stronger every single day.

The importance of giving back to the community and helping others has been a central theme throughout my entire life.  My grandmother, Lena Navarro, was the person who first sparked my interest in community service.  From a very young age, I watched her volunteer her time to many charitable causes.  Even as a child, the importance of such efforts resonated within me. While a young man, I spent quite a bit of time with her at the Everett Armory, now known as the Connolly Center.  Every time I visit the Connolly Center, it feels like a homecoming of sorts for me and brings back the wonderful memories I shared with my grandmother there. 

In my early 20s, I had the distinct honor and privilege to serve on the Everett Common Council representing the residents of Ward 6.  I was elected to 5 consecutive terms, serving a total of 10 years. In 1994, I was elected President of the Council.  During my tenure as a councilman, I chaired every major committee including Finance, Rules and Ordinances and Public Safety.  After having served 10 years, I opted not to seek an additional term to spend all my free time with my then newborn son, Zachary, and shortly thereafter, my daughter, Gabrielle.  In 2013, with your support, I returned to active public service as one of your city councilors and continue to serve in that capacity.    Nearly my entire adult life, I have dedicated significant time and personal resources to our city. My wife and I, over the past 23 years, have personally donated annual scholarships to deserving high school graduates, who reside in Everett.  I have been active with the Italian American Association of Everett for over 33 years, having served as President, Director, and longstanding Scholarship Committee Chairperson.  I am a member of the Board of Directors for the Everett Kiwanis and am the current Scholarship Committee Chairperson for the Saugus-Everett Elks.  I have served as a Trustee for Tri-City Mental Health, Chair of the St. Anthony’s Parochial School Board, and as a member of the St. Anthony’s Parish Finance Committee.  I have also volunteered my time to many other civic activities and charitable organizations both in and outside of our community.

Serving Everett as an elected official has been an honor and I thank you for the tremendous opportunity.  As one of your representatives, I have always put your interests first and have always welcomed your input.  Despite my best efforts, however, I have had some concerns along the way. Far too often, it seems that our residents are pushed to the side and ignored in the decision-making process. Not only is that NOT good government, it’s just wrong.  Your tax dollars are spent without your input and decisions are made for you, without you.  I firmly believe that a healthy amount of controlled development is beneficial to any community, but the unlimited, massive scale construction projects that are being allowed, often right in the middle of a residential setting, are overcrowding our neighborhoods, adding unnecessary congestion and overburdening our city’s infrastructure.  The same few businesses and the same few friends seem to thrive, while everyone else struggles to just get by.

Everett’s future is bright, but there is much more that needs to be done in the present.  After 14 years of the same administration, the time has come for a change at City Hall so that ALL our voices are heard.  Some of the important topics that we need to better address as a community are as follows:

Education

Providing a quality education is the best investment we can make in our youth and our collective future. Our schools continue to be overcrowded and our teachers overburdened.  We, as a community, need to do more than the bare minimum to prepare our children for their futures.

Additionally, we need more vocational opportunities for our students.  As your mayor, there will be meaningful collaboration and open, effective communication between City government and the School Department. We will help EVERY student reach their full potential both in and out of the classroom setting.

Accountability

It is crucial that you have confidence in your local government. Currently, there is no accountability. With the addition of a Casino to our community, our taxes should be much lower.  Our quality of life should be much better. 

There must be complete transparency in government decisions and how city funds are spent. THERE ISN’T.  The information on our city website is woefully outdated and often impossible to navigate. As your mayor, the city website will be reconfigured to make it more user friendly so that the people of Everett can easily access information about how THEIR government operates. You will receive HONEST answers to your questions. Charter changes will REQUIRE your input and approval, rather than being forced upon you. You will have access to the Mayor’s Office and your Mayor to voice your concerns.  Municipal construction projects and street work schedules will be posted online in an effort to reduce unnecessary traffic in impacted areas and to help residents plan their daily commute. You will see how YOUR money is being spent.

Affordability

One of the biggest challenges facing our community is to make Everett a more affordable place to live.  As your mayor, we will increase the amount of truly affordable units through homeowner incentives and strategic new development. We will foster more owner-occupied housing. We will eliminate wasteful government spending and look for ways to reduce taxes and other municipal expenses.

Public Safety

Every resident should feel safe and respected. Until just recently, after I repeatedly insisted that the administration make it a priority, Everett hadn’t hired a single firefighter since 2016.  To date, more than 25 members have left the department.  Within that same timeframe, we welcomed a casino, a hotel, and a tremendous amount of large-scale construction.  Our risks have increased dramatically, but as a community we did nothing to address that additional risk. The host agreement negotiated by our current administration with Wynn Resorts is lacking and our community missed tremendous opportunities at the outset due to the administration’s haste to embrace a casino.

As your mayor, we will never fall behind in proper staffing levels to ensure proper police and fire protection. There will be more police presence in our neighborhoods to deter crime and a return to community policing to ensure that our residents know their police officers.  We will strive to build additional trust and respect for one another. We will work together to enhance the safety of our neighborhoods. We will study the benefits of a satellite police station in Everett Square. Street sweeping, road repair and sidewalk maintenance will be a priority.

We will host periodic seminars to educate property owners and tenants of their rights and responsibilities with regard to public safety and health code issues.

We will improve how our city approaches mental illness, homelessness and addiction issues.

Inclusion

Everett’s greatest asset is our diverse body of residents. Too many residents feel marginalized and ignored. This will end under my administration. Regardless of your race, religion, disabilities, age, sexuality, or gender identity, ensuring that all voices are heard and represented is a top priority. I stand with the Black community, who has experienced so much loss and devastation over the last year. I stand with the Asian community, who has faced incredible violence throughout the pandemic because of racial prejudice. I stand with the members of the LGBTQ+ community, who face discrimination because of who they are and who they love. I stand with every resident who has ever been mistreated, ignored, or disregarded. As your mayor, every resident will have meaningful input and involvement with the major decisions affecting YOU and YOUR community. I promise to hold weekly office hours to ensure your voices are heard and your concerns addressed.  We will improve services for residents with disabilities and ALL residents will be treated as valued members of the community. We will foster the talent and creativity of local artists, make a bigger commitment to the Arts, and ensure accessibility to ALL residents throughout our city.  We will restore Everett pride and improve our overall sense of community – not just during times of crisis, but EVERY day. We will utilize your suggestions and opinions to make Everett a better community for ALL of us.

Seniors

A community must honor its seniors. As your mayor we will continue to add and improve the delivery of services for our seniors. No senior will lack the basic necessities. We will host periodic seminars on issues important to seniors. There will be a dedicated city liaison for all things senior related. A big concern for many of our seniors is transportation. One of my goals is to establish a scheduled shuttle service to transport our seniors to the major points within our city.

Business Community

Thriving local business is a vital part of a vibrant community.  Local business partners have been neglected for far too long. They are more than a source of tax revenue. They provide necessary services and conveniences for our residents. We have a vested interest in attracting good business partners and helping them succeed. As your mayor, we will stop talking about revitalizing Everett Square and we will finally do it!  Peer networks and internship opportunities will be explored.  Business partners will be treated with the respect that they have earned in recognition of their valuable contributions to our community.

There are many wonderful opportunities ahead for our city and they shouldn’t be squandered.  They should be addressed together. The future of our community should be planned together. Decisions by your city government and how it spends your tax money should only happen after meaningful involvement and coordination – together.

Together we can make this vision a reality. My background makes me well-qualified to lead our city into the future, but that can only happen with your assistance.  In addition to my Business Degree from Boston College and my Juris Doctorate from New England School of Law, I have learned much over the 18 years of elected service to this community.  Raised as one of four children in a single-parent household, I learned the value of hard work, the need to stretch limited financial resources and the importance of working together.  Combined with raising children of my own, I understand the many struggles that families often face on a daily basis.  Operating my own business for over 26 years, I understand the demands on our business partners.  Both as a property owner and business owner, I understand the anxiety associated with each tax bill and water bill and the sense of frustration that these numbers seem excessive.  As the son of an elderly parent, I understand the issues facing our seniors.

I look forward to meeting and speaking with you over the duration of the campaign.  Should you wish to volunteer, place a lawn sign, or simply have a question, please contact me at my home number 617-387-9045 or visit the campaign website www.fredcaponeforeverett.com.

Together we will Build A Better Everett.

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