Guelmie Santiago, candidate for at-large city councilor in New Bedford’s 2023 elections.


Guelmie Santiago


In the past few years, I have worked as a human resources manager, while also managing my own business. I worked as a human resources manager at Joseph Abboud Manufacturing Corp, from 2018 until 2021. In 2018 I obtained my Real Estate License. In 2021, I left my position at Joseph Abboud to concentrate completely on growing my business, Santiago Professional Services, 1913 Purchase St., New Bedford.


Roughly 25 years ago, New Bedford warmly welcomed me into its embrace, extending opportunities for personal growth and achievements, even as I navigated the challenges of being a Hispanic single mother raising three children.
Today I’m compelled to reciprocate the generosity of this community that has enriched my life immeasurably. My commitment is resolute, dedicating myself tirelessly to ensure that every voice finds its resonance, with a special emphasis on championing the cause of small enterprises and amplifying the voices that might not readily converse in English.

Guelmie Santiago

With limited land in the city for potential commercial developments and tax revenue, what can the City Council do to build the tax base outside of taxes on private homes? What would you do as a councilor?

In the 19 century, New Bedford was one of the world’s most important whaling ports and one of the richest cities in the USA, because of the fishing industry. When the momentum slowed down, the textile industry was the instrument used to keep the economy going. The government bodies at that time were visionaries and that was, and still is, the key to any successful administration.

New Bedford has the experience and the potential but needs new leadership that will protect the interest of the constituents and create alternatives for hundreds of entrepreneurs who want to develop their talent and vision. As councilor I would work diligently to help in the development of streamlined systems that are accessible to all, with up-to-date information on all regulations to be able to move forward and keep good talent in our city.

UMass Dartmouth’s decision to move the College of Visual And performing Arts out of New Bedford is seen as a significant blow to business and cultural activity downtown. What could the city have done to keep the CVPA here? What Should the city do now?

When I heard the news, I was very disappointed and thought immediately about the economic impact that this would have on the city. When we have a partnership, communication is one of the most important factors, and I was surprised that such a significant decision was taken suddenly. We need professionals who can forecast drastic challenges and lead by good planning, organizing and excellent communication across the board. Good administration always has an alternative plan. The city now must move forward and work together to develop an alternative option suitable for that area.

Most agree the city needs more affordable housing. How do you see the role of the City Council in this?

As a real estate agent, we know that this is a national matter. Even as a national matter, the leaders of every community have the responsibility to deal with their unique situations and citizen needs. This is a matter of right and responsibilities; A real estate investor has the right to invest and get the best return of the investment; real estate agents have a fiduciary responsibility to act in the best interest of the seller or buyer that they represent; and a tenant has the right to have an affordable safe apartment unit. There should be room for everyone. The problem is inventory. We need to do an analysis, and come up with a way to increase inventory through the city.

How should the city balance the need of the offshore wind industry with the needs of New Bedford’s commercial fishermen?

I have not done enough research to know how the wind industry will affect the commercial fishermen. I have been invited to learn more about the Vineyard Wind project, and I will be doing that within the next week. I will be taking some time to speak with some of our local fishermen and see their point of view in this matter. When elected, I will be sure that the local fishermen know that they have an ally in the City Council.

Editor’s note: Candidates in all contested races were asked the same questions with a limit of roughly 200 words for each answer. Additional profiles will be printed as they are returned by the candidates.

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