Candidate at a glance
Has lived in New Bedford for 48 years
CEO, REALTOR Association of Southeastern Massachusetts, responsible for staffing, budgets, local/state/federal governmental advocacy and day-to-day operations of our 1,800-member organization.
Managing director, Pro-Home, Inc., responsible for staff, budgets, grant funding and the day-to-day operations of the housing counseling agency.
I have no endorsements but would be willing to work together with any group to solve issues in the same manner as I would with community organizations and city residents.
Tell us briefly about your qualifications and why you are running.
My background is in economic development and affordable housing, and I have operated small and mid-size businesses. In addition, I have extensive government advocacy experience. Most recently, our Rail-to-Boston Coalition was a key partner in bringing South Coast Rail to New Bedford. Also, through our REALTOR Association, we helped make changes in state legislation that allow for more housing development around Massachusetts. Lastly, I was recently appointed as a Massachusetts representative to the National Association of REALTORS 2022 Federal Financing and Housing Policy Committee.
Experience: New Bedford Redevelopment Authority, chairperson; Rail-to-Boston Coalition, chairperson; New Bedford Economic Development’s Regeneration Committee, member; One SouthCoast Chamber of Commerce’s Government Affairs Committee, member.
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?
Massachusetts has spent more than 20 years under-developing, while the population has increased and more people are living home longer at the end of their life. We need to increase inventory in single family and multi-unit housing, not only in New Bedford, but also in the surrounding communities. The city needs to take back abandoned properties and sell them at less than market-rate, with deed restrictions. We also should create a matching grant program, with a portion of the ARPA money, that assists New Bedford first-time homebuyers purchase property with a larger down payment. Learn more at www.paulchasse.com.
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?
The public safety complex in the South End should be a model of what could be done in the North End. Together, with an enhanced police headquarters in the West End, could allow for extensive coverage across the city, while sharing costs of these facilities. Our emergency responders do extraordinary work every day and should be provided the staffing and equipment needed. Many times, over the past several years, the police department budgets came in substantially under-budget at the end of the fiscal year. Staffing shortages do not help keep residents or officers safe and contribute to substantial overtime.
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?
My family is vaccinated. That said, I believe that it’s a personal decision made after consulting with your doctors. While it represents a minority of the population, there are still many people with immune-compromised health conditions, allergies to vaccinations or simply have a large amount of antibodies in their system, and it could make more sense to get the vaccination sometime down the road when less protected. I also think that continued education and support from a cross-section of community leaders will eventually go further than a mandate. I would consider a regular testing requirement for public employees who are not vaccinated.
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