Candidate at a glance

Has lived in New Bedford for 20-plus years.
Investment Executive at Securian Advisors of New England, Braintree, Massaschusetts.
Laborers Local 385 and Southeastern Mass. Labor Council

Leo Choquette

Tell us briefly about your qualifications and why you are running.

I work in a client-focused business, where there is no 9 to 5 clock, only results or failure. I have the benefit of a law school education, and I have my Series 7 Financial License. I am a board member of PACE, and I was appointed to the Zoning Board of Appeals by Mayor Jon Mitchell in 2020. I believe I have a unique blend of experiences and education across several disciplines which will be an asset to the council. I will be the only councilor to open a constituent services office to meet Ward 1 residents weekly, without appointments. Accessibility and results will be the hallmark of my service.

Amid rising home prices and escalating monthly rents, what can New Bedford do to ensure there is enough affordable housing for those who want to continue living in the city?

Rents unfortunately are increasing as a function of the market, and property owners will be forced to comply with the price hikes.

However, we can allow developers to rehab and rebuild several distressed properties in New Bedford and transform them into low-cost, high-quality housing. This will be important in avoiding the gentrification effect which is caused by the escalating rents.  

Police and fire departments recently shifted staff and consolidated operations in a new public safety station in the city’s South End. Is there still adequate public safety across the city? How will you work to keep the neighborhoods safe?

I will work in every capacity possible with the police, fire and EMS services in order to keep Ward 1 safe for families and business owners. In my opinion, Ward 1 requires increased public safety resources, some of which can hopefully come from state and federal grants.

New Bedford has a higher rate of COVID-19 than the state average, along with a lower vaccination rate. Are you in favor of mandatory vaccines or testing for municipal employees as announced by Mayor Jon Mitchell? If not, what would you do to make New Bedford residents safer?

No matter how hard we try to institute mandatory vaccinations, there will be many opponents. My stance on this issue is that whoever wants the vaccine, we need to make it freely accessible to them. If someone wishes to refrain from receiving the vaccine, that should be their right also. Herd immunity requires a 70% vaccination rate.  For those folks who refuse vaccination, they will most likely develop natural immunity once exposed. We as a community will eventually reach the 70% threshold through natural immunity and vaccination.


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