For years Robert Bromley has been active in one community activity after another in his native city of New Bedford and in Rhode Island, where he works. He’s worked with Friends of Buttonwood Park and with the Fort Taber-Fort Rodman Historical Association in New Bedford, and with the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War.
And, he’s worked for a living in government nearly 40 years, with decades of experience as a budget analyst with the Rhode Island State Senate, a position in Providence that he’s still commuting to every day.
But run for public office?
The 62-year-old had never seen it as a realistic option. Recently, though, when former Ward 3 City Councilor Hugh Dunn announced in November that he would step down, it seemed he had a choice to make. Bromley had first supported Dunn, who was first elected in 2017, but then things seemed to slip. The councilor did not seem as responsive to his constituents as he might be, Bromley said.
“He dropped the ball,” Bromley said.
He, along with so many others, could complain about it. Or, he could consider the suggestion of people he knew, and do something.
“I just want to right the ship on this,” he said.
So, like everyone else seeking this position, he puts constituent services high on his list of things he would try to improve for ward residents. Not least, he said, residents need more ready access to information about what’s going on, perhaps a regular councilor’s newsletter, or a web-based connection of some sort.
Specifically, he said people are wondering what, if anything, is going on with a city effort to develop a portion of the Whaling City Golf Course as a manufacturing center, particularly the impact on traffic. While any formal plan would include a traffic study, he said the ward councilor could advocate for a comprehensive study to first size up the traffic patterns and chronic backups on Hathaway Road, “instead of waiting to see what is going to be developed,” said Bromley, who lives on Rowe Street, not far from Rockdale Avenue, across the Interstate 195-Route 140 interchange from the golf course.
“I want these answers for residents. They don’t know what’s going on,” he said.
Also close to his neighborhood in the western portion of the ward, he said some residents are advocating for a soccer field to be developed at a spot near Franco-American Veterans Square where there are now four ballfields. He’d advocate for lighting and concession stands as part of that project, he said.
He said he’d also support Rockdale Avenue-area residents who would like to see the city build a playground within walking distance of their homes.
An expert in state budgets in Rhode Island, he naturally argues that his experience in public finance would be useful on the council.
While he’s commuting every day to his job in Providence, he said he’d be able to keep up with constituent service and other council duties. He’d probably have to make some adjustments to his schedule, but he said “I would just do it.”
Email Arthur Hirsch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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