Two candidates are vying for the mayoral office in the Waltham city election Nov. 8. Meet one candidate, Andrew Wirth:
Q. What is the biggest challenge facing the city?
A. From speaking with residents, one of the biggest issues we have in Waltham is a lack of transparency in our local government. Many residents have written letters and emails to elected officials only to receive nothing in return, resulting in a loss of confidence in our local government by our residents. I will ensure accountability of myself and promote the accountability of other elected officials. This will restore faith in our local government’s processes and allow us to effectively proceed and progress on key issues.
Q. Do you have any political/civic experience?
A. I have volunteered for a local politician in Hayward, California. I have done volunteer work around the community, at places such as Chesterbrook Housing. I also have the experience of signing friends and co-workers up for financial aid as well as helping them apply to schools to further themselves.
Q. What do you think qualifies you for the office you are seeking?
A. Although I do not have the traditional qualifications of a mayor, I am a man of the people. I have and will continue to put my own self interests aside to do what is best for the community. I enjoy communicating with the residents, and getting the inside scoop on ideas directly from the people that the city’s policies effect. I want to commit to serving the people and providing them with what they know is best as well as leading the community to operate at its full potential.
Q. If elected, how do you plan to unite the city’s many diverse neighborhoods and groups?
A. The city of Waltham has many diverse groups and neighborhoods, it can be difficult to account for and be involved in every single group. I plan to better utilize the modern technology of social media, and connect the diverse groups into a network, creating an interwoven Waltham. There needs to be better awareness between groups to create a web of Waltham Residents, uniting the people to take pride in their city.
Q. Cuts are being made across the board. What programs would you cut and which ones would you save?
A. These are rough times for our economy as well as financially for its residents. As mayor I will lead by example, my first act as mayor will be to take a substantial cut to my own salary. Any further cuts will be made on a case by case basis. It is important that we continue to maintain and support our core departments such as, but not limited to Police, Fire, Education, and Public Works.
Q. Foreclosures are rampant in the city. How would you help people avoid losing their homes? And if they do lose their home, how would you as a public officer help them get back on their feet?
A. Due to the status of the current economy, sometimes foreclosures are inevitable. I plan to confront this as much as possible through the utilization of established groups such as National League of Cities, and other help specific to foreclosures such as financial advisors can assist the residents in diverting this crisis. The fundamental of this problem lies in the state of the economy, therefore, boosting and restoring the economy to a higher level will solve a majority of this problem. This can be done by bringing more businesses to the empty real estate, and creating a positive cycle of jobs and spending.
Follow us on Twitter: @walthamupdate