Candidate at a glance

CITY RESIDENCY:
Lifelong resident of New Bedford (28 years)
WORK:
Program coordinator for Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance
ENDORSEMENTS:
Greater Southeastern Massachusetts Labor Council, National Association of Government Employees (NAGE) Local 282, Greater New Bedford Educator’s Union (GNBEU) and the Coalition for Social Justice (CSJ)
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Q&A
Shane A. Burgo

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

I believe decisions are made by those in the room; more specifically, by those with a seat at the table. This principle has inspired me to always find that seat. It has led me to such opportunities as: MA-09 Delegate to President Joe Biden, affirmative action officer of the New Bedford Democrats, Education Chair of the New Bedford NAACP, and many other leadership roles. My city roots run deep. I am a 6th generation resident of Cape Verdean and Madeiran descent. I have lived in various neighborhoods throughout the city and am proud to call New Bedford home.

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?

The city needs to manage change and facilitate home ownership. We need to work with developers on Community Benefit Agreements that require them to negotiate directly with community and labor organizations. We need to make sure inclusionary zoning is a part of any housing development and guarantees that at least 20% of the units being rented will be affordable housing units. The city also needs to assist existing landlords with owner-occupied units.

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 support the invaluable efforts made by our public safety officers. Nonetheless, the adequacy of public safety varies by neighborhood. Every neighborhood should be safe. The work needed to keep our communities safe starts at an early age. It begins with our education system, our housing, and opportunities for economic growth. We must invest in our communities to enable our residents to live lives of safe self-sufficiency. 

Neighborhoods do not become safer just because they’re being patrolled. For each of us, they are home. Everybody wants a safe home, but that does not come from a safety station alone.

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 for public employees as announced by Mayor Jon Mitchell? If not, what would you do to make New Bedford residents safer?

We are all part of a community and have a civic responsibility to protect ourselves, our community and respect the vulnerabilities of the people we encounter every day. We need to do more work within our community groups to ease any distrust or misinformation out there about the vaccine. I have been very vocal about my vaccinations, my reactions, and the reasons why it is important. 

On Oct. 23, I was fortunate to have received my third dose (booster shot) of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. I encourage everyone to consult their physician and get vaccinated.

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