NEWS: Mayor Curtatone eyes re-election

holliandmayorMayor Joseph Curtatone kicked off his re-election campaign on Wednesday, May 22 with a speech made at the Center for the Arts at the Armory.

If re-elected, Curtatone will enter his eleventh year in office. Election Day is slotted for November 5.

The text of his speech is as follows:

“Let me start off by thanking everyone who’s here today. I cannot do my
job as mayor alone. It’s because of your support that we are able to
accomplish the things we do. And it’s real easy to show up every day
and do our work when we get to serve a city as great as Somerville.

Looking over at my sons, it reminds me that I’ve been at this for a
little while. You’ll notice they’re not little kids anymore. All of
them have their own things going on. And they just keep growing. It’s
a good thing we passed the Urban Agriculture Ordinance because I don’t
know how else we’re going to feed them.

Main thing is, ever since they can remember, I’ve been Mayor of this
great city. Now I haven’t been at this as long as Tom Menino in Boston
or Mike McGlynn next door in Medford, but I am proud to say that we’ve
had more than our share of major achievements over the past 10 years.

And it’s customary for an incumbent mayor to kickoff of a reelection
campaign by listing all the great things he or she has done in office.
Well … I’m not going to do that.

If you’re here today I don’t need to list our accomplishments and
awards during the past decade for you. You know that list. You’ve
heard that list. You’ve lived that list.

Instead I want to talk to you about what’s happening in Somerville
today and where that has us headed in the future. Because the reason
I’m running for Mayor again is what’s happening in Somerville right
now has me so incredibly excited.

If you drive around the city — or better yet, if you walk or bike
around the city — you’ll see neighborhoods with tree-lined streets
and smart-looking homes. You’ll see busy city squares. You’ll see
parks and playgrounds, and people of every race, creed, color and age
walking around with smiles on their faces.

When people visit from other cities, states and countries, they rave
about what a pretty place Somerville is. And when people who haven’t
been to Somerville for a few decades see what it looks like today,
they can’t believe it’s the same place.

Probably the most effective campaigning I could do is to hold walking
tours around the city. You can see how this city is flourishing with
the naked eye.

You can feel the positive vibe coming from the people of Somerville
when you go out and speak with them. These are very good days for

And I could take that walking tour over to Assembly Square where
people can experience a beehive of activity. It’s one of the biggest
and most active construction zones anywhere in the Commonwealth of

Within another year we’ll open the first new T station anywhere in the
Commonwealth since 1987.

They’re building new city blocks around it, which will feature
thousands of new homes and offices and retail establishments that
provide thousands of jobs.

It will put what I call the New American Dream within reach for more
people in this city: the ability to work close to where you live, to
spend more time with family and friends, to win back some quality of
life from the daily grind.

They’re also building parkland along the Mystic River, reclaiming the
waterfront we lost during the industrial buildup of the early 20th

And then you can walk over to East Somerville, where we’re giving East
Broadway a complete makeover. The transformation of that area,
including Harris Park, has attracted world-renown restaurateur Frank
McClelland. We’ve also seen Mudflat Studio build an absolutely
gorgeous facility along Broadway.

Once upon a time people referred to East Somerville as the forgotten
corner of Somerville. Well, nobody’s forgetting it anymore. And I
haven’t even gotten to the best part of East Somerville yet.

This fall we reopen the East Somerville Community School. That school
is the beating heart of that section of our city. It’s a gathering
place and community center.

It’s also a symbol of our continued commitment to education and to
moving Somerville forward for all the people in our city, not just
isolated pockets here and there.

From there you can go to Washington Street and to Union Square, which
sit on the verge of a major transformation because the Green Line
extension is under construction.

We’re not talking about the Green Line extension as if, maybe, some
day in the future it will happen. No, it’s happening right now. We’re
not fighting to get started anymore. Yet we do need to remain vigilant
and insistent that the project get done on its current timeline.

I know I didn’t spend more than a decade of my life fighting daily to
get construction underway just to see it stop. I promise you that I
will give every fiber of my being and every last ounce of energy I
possess to make sure we’re riding Green Line trains from one end of
Somerville to the other during this decade.

And the good news is the state really is committed here. I wish I
could tell you that the prevailing wisdom of running the region’s main
mass transit system through New England’s most densely populated city
is what did the trick here.

I wish I could tell you that the environmental improvements the T will
bring or the social justice of giving our working class population
easier access to jobs and cultural institutions is what tipped the

Yet the truth is it makes too much business sense. Somerville is the
next frontier in the expanding greater Boston job market.

We’re planning on adding 30,000 jobs by the year 2030. Ultimately
that’s billions of dollars a year in general economic activity and
hundreds of millions flowing into the state coffers.

It’s also going to be a transformation in terms of local taxes. Those
new businesses will help fund our consistently-improving schools,
street and neighborhood improvements, public safety, senior programs,
environment initiatives, and recreational activities. It will
alleviate the local tax burden on our residential taxpayers.

I really want to stress the schools part of that. Make no mistake
about this, the growth we envision in the economic opportunity zones
near the new T stations is going to have direct impact on how well our
schools tackle the current baby boom.

We’re climbing to almost 1,000 births a year for Somerville residents.
We haven’t seen numbers like these in decades. This isn’t just
happening in Somerville, it’s happening nationwide. The Millennials
are a big generation and they’re hitting their prime breeding years.

Other cities and towns have been slashing teachers and programs in
recent years. Not Somerville. We’ve been improving and expanding
educational opportunities for our students.

Yet Millennials are a huge chunk of our local population and we’re
going to need a larger commercial tax base to ensure we continue to
move forward in our schools.

This is our window of opportunity to truly redefine what an urban
school system is capable of delivering. This is our chance to turn to
young parents in Somerville and tell them they’d be crazy to leave a
flourishing city like Somerville when so many other school systems
continually find themselves making painful cuts.

Economic growth is an essential component to delivering educational
excellence in this city.

I’m passionate about this because I have four major investments
entrusted to our school system. Mayor Joe answers to Daddy Joe on this

There is a big picture here and the people with the most to gain or
lose are the families of Somerville. I’m working as hard as I do today
to make sure they see that gain and not the loss.

And today, in the here and now, we’re making plans to rip down the
McGrath overpass and replace it with a boulevard that brings together
the sections of our city it split apart decades ago.

We’re also working to take down the old trash transfer station by the
end of this year. We’re redesigning Beacon Street so that it can be a
thriving residential and commercial corridor.

We’re putting together plans for the next round of streetscape
improvements in the wild success story of Davis Square. We’re
determining the future of the Powder House School site.

We’re beautifying Teele Square and Ball Square and Magoun Square and
Winter Hill, and we’re fielding business interest in all of those

We just broke ground on the expansion of the Community Path from Cedar
Street to where it will meet with the Green Line extension at Lowell

And I can make you the solemn vow that we will figure out how to
extend it all the way to Boston.

Today, right here, right now, we are building a bright and beautiful
future for our city.

We are taking our destiny into our own hands and not chancing our
future on the notion that maybe something good will come our way.

Daily I am awed by the creativity, passion, energy and activity of the
people of Somerville and the people I work with every day.

It is a privilege that I get to work on building our common future
with all of you and that is why I am running for reelection.

I love what we’re doing today and I can’t wait to see what we get to
do tomorrow.

Thank you for your support.”

–Jen Morgan