WATCH IT HERE
Today Rich sat down with Veronica Andrews to discuss the pressing issues facing Woburn, Reading and the Commonwealth
WATCH IT HERE
Today Rich sat down with Veronica Andrews to discuss the pressing issues facing Woburn, Reading and the Commonwealth
WOBURN – City Council President Richard Haggerty became the second high-ranking elected official to declare his candidacy for the State House seat being vacated by State Rep. James Dwyer (D-Woburn).
Hoping to mirror Dwyer’s political trajectory in 2009 from a sitting alderman to new state legislator, Haggerty, 38, the longest serving City Council president in Woburn’s history, announced his entry into the race through a Facebook post, a copy of which was provided to The Daily Times Chronicle on Monday morning.
“There has never been a greater time for bold leadership, proven experience, and the ability to deliver results,” he wrote. “There is no one who is more passionate about our success than me, and I can’t wait to get started. I look forward to seeing you on the campaign trail, meeting new friends, and earning your vote.”
“We rely on local aid for everything from fixing our roadways to funding our schools. We need to find a way to increase our funding. Local control is so important. We’ve got to challenge unfunded mandates and find a way to bring more back to communities,” later commented Haggerty, when asked during an interview this morning about his top priorities.
Haggerty, who is the general manager for DTC sister publication Middlesex East, will compete against at least two other Democratic Party candidates in a state primary election that will tentatively be held next September.
Late last week, Woburn School Committee Chairman Joseph Demers, who works as Dwyer’s legislative aide, announced he too is running for the seat being vacated by his boss. In November, Washington D.C. area native Darryn Remillard, also a Woburn resident, circulated notice of his candidacy for the legislature.
Dwyer, whose constituency includes voters in Woburn (Wards 2-6) and Reading (Precincts 2-5), officially revealed on Jan. 16 that he will not be seeking re-election.
Same role, different venue
The only Woburn alderman to serve as City Council president for three consecutive terms, Haggerty has consistently advanced legislative proposals aimed at instituting financial reforms and encouraging economic development in the community.
He contends that track record, combined with the council leadership credentials that have placed him in regular contact with Woburn’s Beacon Hill delegation over the past four-plus years, distances his candidacy from his rivals.
“I’ve been the guy making big decisions around the table with local leaders and state legislators for the past eight years. So this isn’t new to me. It’s just a new venue,” said Haggerty. “I’m going to be a full-time state representative. This is going to be my job, because that’s what this position demands.”
“Experience matters,” added the Leonard Street resident, who described Dwyer as a close friend and confidant. “We’ve had someone for the past eight years who has been a collaborative leader and effective legislator. We need to find people who can go to Beacon Hill and deliver results for the district, and I know this district better than anybody.”
A Woburn native, Haggerty is a WMHS alumnus who went on to the University of New Hampshire to receive his bachelor’s degree in political science with a concentration in foreign policy in 2002.
With deep roots in his hometown, the fifth-term alderman at-large, a confessed public policy wonk, became intimately familiar with Reading’s citizenry while managing Middlesex East Publications from its longtime headquarters 531 Main Street, Reading.
As a politician who began his career at a family-owned enterprise, the Woburn Historical Society member is a strong proponent of alleviating financial and regulatory strains on small-businesses, which the Beacon Hill hopeful argues is in dire need of expanded health care market access or other “cost-containment” legislation.
After working in the private sector for close to a decade, Haggerty decided to pursue his lifelong interest in local politics by running for the City Council in 2009 – the same year Dwyer moved from Woburn City Hall to the State House.
Capturing the open alderman at-large seat in his first attempt at gaining public office, the fifth-generation Woburnite was elected by his colleagues as council president in Jan. of 2014.
Earlier this year, he was unanimously and without challenge re-appointed to the leadership role for the third time. Haggerty proudly attributes that feat – a first in Woburn – to his ability to build a consensus, a skill he much admired in Dwyer during his tenure on Beacon Hill.
“Partisan politics is having a nightmare impact in our country in a lot of ways. We need to find a way to come together to stave off some of our biggest challenges. For a long time, we came together in this country to solve problems, and we need to find a way to do that again,” he said.
Cites familiarity with Reading
The candidates points out he is very familiar with Reading as the General Manager of Middlesex East, the 10-town regional section which was operated out of the Daily Times Chronicle office in Reading and is included in the newspapers each Wednesday. In addition he is well acquainted with the Reading leaders and many Reading residents through business and personal relationships built up over the years through working in Reading.
Haggerty says he will bring a common sense approach to the post and asserts that he is well versed in the operation of government and the interaction between local and State government through his experience on the Woburn City Council.
He understands the challenges facing Reading on fiscal issues which makes it all that more important to advocate for local aid for Reading at the State House. In addition the Chapter 40B housing issues facing Reading require the need to protect Reading’s neighborhoods and he would press for changes in the 40B law.
He looks forward to working together with local officials on economic development issues and said the Walkers Brook Drive area was a good fit for commercial development.
Protecting the MBTA funding and commuter rail service to Reading is also an important issue Haggerty said, the commuter rail is an vital part of downtown Reading and is a vital service for passengers and a great option for local commuters working in Boston.
(Reading Editor Al Sylvia also contributed to this report.)
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WOBURN – The City Council will be moving forward with a full plate to start of the new year and council members are getting their priorities in order these days.
In recent days, Richard Haggerty was re-elected president of the City Council for a third straight term and in recent days talked to members of the Woburn Rotary Club about priorities and ways to go in the city.
He is serving his 5th, two-year term on the council and his third consecutive term as the president of the City Council. He’s the first to have three such votes as president and had the full support of the City Council.
“Woburn is the best when both families and businesses are thriving – a place where families can afford to live and businesses can grow,” remarked Haggerty at the outset. “Companies continue to invest in our city. They know what we all know and that is that Woburn is a great place to locate a business and great place to grow a business.”
In one kick-off for the new year, Haggerty brought home to members of the Woburn Rotary Club at their noontime luncheon at the Crest View on Montvale Avenue the high priority items, especially the re-inventing of the northeast corner of the city which will be under transformation in the decades ahead. This includes the Commerce Way Overlay District, the re-invening of the Woburn Mall and the area at Presidential Way going north.
The area borders Wilmington and Reading to the north with some easy access off I-93 and I-95. The area was referenced by Mayor Scott Galvin in his January 1 Inauguration speech that “the city is embarking on three initiatives geared toward proactive planning for the city’s future economic development.”
Mayor Galvin, as did Pres. Haggerty, noted the three sites are being undertaken simultaneously and will create a planning vision to guide growth and two most-promising business districts.
“The Cabot, Cabot &Forbes project going in at the Fitzgerald Tile site is going to be a game-changing development for our city,” he continued. “We are intro introducing 291 housing units that will help to create a dynamic new, transportation-oriented neighborhood. Our objective as a city in this area is to continue to push the live, work, play model. We want to encourage housing creation, job creation and amenity creation. That means new apartments and condos, new business centers, new restaurants and new fun amenities.”
It was pointed out CCF continues to move forward with their project and are in the process of reclassifying the site with the EPA, getting funding in place and site work could begging as soon as the summer.
Much is the same at the Wourn Mall area, he said, with a mixed use, transportation-orientated development.
The City Council, said Haggerty, will be working with the mayor to get the best for the city in the wide-spread area that also includes the Anderson/Woburn Regional Transportation Center.
“We are always wanting to come up with a better way,” remarked Haggerty to the Rotarians.
Presidential Way, he pointed out, lends itself “to more creative ways with the likes of restaurants and businesses.”
The Woburn Mall, too, he said, “is a very exciting, a high energy area, and will be looking different in the future.”
The Madison Properties complex at 369 Washington St. just before the Rte. 128 bridge also came under scrutiny on Monday night of this week but the City Council will allow a national developer to tack another restaurant (110 Grill) onto its Woburn Landing site off Washington Street. The project is going “full speed ahead,” he said. Madison Properties now plans to open this fourth restaurant in this City Council approval and Haggerty said the entire project will be monitored to get the best for the city and the area.
The widening of Washington Street and additional turning lanes “onto and off” Washington Street will start in the spring.
40b is issue…
Also on the horizon, he said, are changes in 40b i.e. and affordable housing changes. “15% above 10 units came out of committee on Monday night,” he pointed out i.e. “when the city reaches its 10% requirement, I will support dropping the requirement to 12.5% in order to stay above the required 10%.”
He also opined that several large housing developments have the opportunity to push Woburn over the 10% state requirement “but 40b needs a total overhaul at the state level to provide more local control and address the density problem.”
He reflected on the city’s action of already adding 60 parking places at the old Strand Theater site, as well as 100 at the library area. Meters and enforcement are also coming, he continued.
He spoke, too, of co-sponsoring with Alderman Michael Anderson the rooftop dining zoning amendment which should provide a “new type of dining experience for patrons and a new business opportunity for restaurant owners.” “The safety of patrons was a top priority when drafting the legislation,” he noted.
Also under scrutiny, he pointed out, were the 48 units behind the Post Office in downtown Woburn. The City Council, he said, would review it all thoroughly. The Jamieson Properties plan with the 48 units has all parking on site “and that will transform the Federal Street area and provide a much needed upgrade.”
The City Council is also aware of developments like the widening of Montvale Avenue in East Woburn in the approach to I-93, the razing of the Clapp School in South End with a recreation area planned and funds already approved, along with an overview of the Hurld-Wyman Elementary School project endorsed by the City Council with a September 2018 opening excepted.
The list of projects, the pointed out, can almost be unending but each project in itself will need a review by city officials, especially the City Council members.
He talked about he five generations of his family involvement in the city and services “at just about every level of community involvement.”
“Because they cared a great deal about their family, they cared a great deal about heir city and they cared a great deal about the future of both. That’s the reason I continue to serve because I care about our shared future.”
Haggerty, a life-long resident of the city, a Woburn H.S. graduate and possesses a degree from the University of New Hampshire in Foreign Policy.
He was introduced by Rotary Club member Artlhur Duffy, who noted some of his accomplishments, to include:
• Sponsoring a Resolve to build the new Hurld-Wyman Elementary School;
• Sponsoring of an Order to remove and build the new Woburn Public Library;
• Sponsoring the National Guard and Military Reservist Tax Relief Order;
• Sponsoring legislation to streamline the city permitting process;
• Taking the lead in the fight to get Woburn designated a Green Community;
• Support for the responsible refinancing of the city debt;
• Advancing the acquisition of 82 acres of open space;
In recent weeks, he was also involved with the mayor and councilors to allow research and development companies, along with manufacturing firms, to not have to go through a lengthy permitting process just to open a business in a new or standing building.
WOBURN – In a historic action, the City Council last night unanimously and without comment elected Alderman at-large Richard Haggerty to his third-term as president of the legislative body.
Haggerty, who faced no opposition in his bid for the leadership role, will now reportedly become the longest continuously serving council president in Woburn’s history.
According to City Clerk William Campbell, former City Council President Tom Shaughnessy also led the legislative body for six years, but unlike the current chairman, he did not do so for consecutive terms.
Haggerty was appointed on the first ballot to the center dais in the council chambers during an organizational meeting that followed the city’s inaugural ceremony in City Hall.
“Thank you everybody,” responded Haggerty, after being sworn in by Campbell last night.
“I am humbled and honored to have my colleagues’ continued confidence, but the council is really a team effort,” the Leonard Street resident later said in an interview with The Daily Times. “Everyone plays an important role in making the council work well for our community, and I’m fortunate to work with a great group of people who always put our city first.”
Also last night, the council adopted its rules and procedural orders for the upcoming 2018 session, another routine business matter that was voted upon without debate.
Haggerty, who last November was elected to his fifth term on the City Council, was first elevated to the leadership position back in Jan. of 2014, when he succeeded former council president Paul Denaro.
As chairman, Haggerty is tasked with appointing his peers to various committee assignments. According to the council president, he does not anticipate any major shakeups, but he will solicit feedback from his counterparts before finalizing the committee rosters.
He is expected to announce those appointments next week.
“This week, I will ask members for their interest in committee assignments and hope to have that out by the end of the week. The last two years, the chairmen of our committees have each done a great job reviewing petitioners’ requests and keeping the work moving,” Haggerty remarked.
Also last night, during its reorganizational meeting, the School Committee appointed Joseph Demers as chairman. Demers, who was first elected to the local education board back in Nov. of 2013, will be taking the chairman’s gavel for the first time.
He assumes the leadership post from School Committee member Ellen Crowley, who last night finished her first stint as chairwoman.
“I’m honored and humbled by my colleagues naming me the chairman during such an important year for the district, especially given the transition to a new superintendent,” said Demers in a phone interview this morning.
Crowley and Demers, both of whom first won election to the school board back in 2013, topped the ticket during municipal elections in 2015, which earned them four-year terms in office.
History was also made last night when Mayor Scott Galvin became just the third City Hall executive to be sworn into the corner office for a fifth term.
Since Woburn shifted to two-year mayoral terms back in 1931, only former Mayors John Rabbitt and William Kane, both of whom served six-terms, have been in office longer than Galvin.
Last November, Woburn’s electorate swept all incumbents back into office, so there will be no new faces on the city’s elected boards in 2018.
WOBURN – Wow!
The “wow factor” was much in evidence on Saturday as many members of the general public were overwhelmed and had their first look at the new James L. McKeown Boys & Girls Club.
“It’s incredible,” was a repeated declaration of enthusiasm after a parking lot full of enthusiastic support packed the newly-paved front parking lot.
The “wow” factor also came into play as President Michael “Tucker” Donaghey, a former boy member, remarked in formal tones at the state of the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony “Wow, what a crowd!.
The $8.5 million modern facility has two new regular basketball courts and an obviously expanded swimming pool that come into play, along with an enlarged Teen Center, Games Room and a modern kitchen.
Good elbow room was everywhere and appreciated by attendees.
Pres. Donaghey was quick to point out: “I want to first and foremost thank Mayor Scott Galvin, Rich Haggerty and the entire City Council who helped us ‘rise from the ashes’ in our ‘darkest days’ when we were going to be ‘essentially homeless for one year.’ Donaghey also exclaimed in a smiling fashion when he thought “OMG – the city might bill me for all the times I called their cell phones saying ’Help’.”
The club, he pointed out from a podium in a sun-filled parking lot to attendees, is now “rebuilt and ready to serve the youth of the area because of our expanded building we can now easily double the youth we serve.”
He had special praise for other public officials in attendance like Senator Cindy Friedman “who is new to her position” and she helped Sen Ken Donnnelly (now deceased) secure our temporary home at the old Clapp School.”
He also thanked Rep. James Dwyer of Woburn and Rep. Jay Kaufman of Lexington who were right alongside helping every step of the way, too. Just ask Jimmy Dwyer how many times I called him for help, too!”
Donaghey continued: “Mayor Galvin or Chief (Robert ) Ferullo understand our message: this is a safe place for kids to come to play, learn and grow.” This is a “second home” to all who become part of the Boys & Girls Club community.”
He also called it a big day not only for Woburn but for adjacent communities like Burlington, Winchester, Lexington and Wilmington’ “We officially service these five communities in our charter (30% of membership).”
In turn, he reflected on a Woburn priest, Monsignor John McLaughlin, who often started a sermon “FACT – all roads lead to Woburn.” The proclamation, he said, referred to the 25 total communities served by the club.”
“We are no longer a gym and swim like it was when I was a kid. ”Origami is big today-who knew. There are individual activities, as well as team activities, that are available..”
Times are changing, he reflected, as the demographics of the area are changing, Social Media, and on and on and on. We are needed more than ever to help the youth navigate life.” “Because you are here today, these kids have a better chance.”
Recognition was also given to a host of donors including John and Kathy Flaherty of Woburn and Dennis Clarke and Joel Sweets representing Cummings Properties and owner William Cummings, a former board member and long-time supporter.
Other “Thank Yous” went out to Paul Micci, Gloria Ann DeMoulas, the Winning Homes ( Chip Curran, Thomas Martin and Mark Salvati), the Boyle family and the Tully family.
Neighbors also received a nice “pat on the back” to include Lance Solimini, the Coakleys (thanks, Sean), the Boyles, Mrs. Carr and all the Place Lane residents in a complex to the south. Also included was Past President and JLMBGC lawyer Shaun Briere, CPA Ed Johnson, Peter Carbone and Scott Tully, Matt Donaghey, Jack Ryan and John Connolly.
And so now, it’s official: the new James L. McKeown Boys & Girls Club is officially open!
On Saturday, a host of individuals from members of the McKeown family like his wife Denise and two daughters, Molly and Kelly and a grandson Calvin helped with the ribbon cutting as did staffers like Executive Director Julie Gage and board of directors and Bulding Committee members.
Various city officials and individuals had much to say, like:
• Julie Gage:” As of last Thursday, we turned it back to the kids!”
• Peter Carbone Jr., (Building Committee): “I was probably one of first kids in here. It feels like 7 years but it’s been 45. We are like a million short but it is great to have a building like this.”
• Mayor Scott Galvin: “Great day for the city of Woburn. Definitely, all roads lead to Woburn – I-93 and the like. Great for our children and community. I’m proud to be here and all deserve credit.”
• City Council President Richard Haggerty: “I am so proud and the effort of all, truly remarkable and exciting for kids in these times like also having a new library. My grandfather was among the first and it was all really inspiring to people.”
• Sen. Cindy Friedman: “It’s great at the State House to work on something so positive. People are just dying to get inside.”
• Rep. James Dwyer: “We live in a tremendous community by buildings like this. A community treasure. Enjoy this building.”
• Rep. Jay Kaufman: “This is the heart and soul of the community; it’s something to pass on to the next generation.”
• Denise McKeown: “I am truly humbled and honored. (Jamie) had this place mostly in his heart of memorialized places. It’s a special memorial. And Mike Donaghey who was not afraid, got people to donate and you were truly amazing. Same for Julie (Gage).”
• George Holland (Boy of Year 1970): “I saw so many things; this is such a great day. We spent every minute of our free time here – our second home and it didn’t take long to realize Jamie (McKeown) was someone special. All the kids went too him, like in the time around 1974.”
Everyone who came and went on Saturday had special comments about the scope and services of the new building.
The daughter of a long-time secretary to the club Kappy Brosnan put it this way: “This is all unbelievable. I am thrilled beyond words.”
Former Executive Director Glen Stirling was also in awe, having been with the club in many capacities per five decades. “This is all amazing. It’s only my second trip to this new building and it’s tremendous. It would take us 10-15 minutes at closing (9:30 p.m.) at nights just to make sure everyone was out,” he reflected.
Another Executive Director just before him, Rick Metters, currently a Woburn School Committee member, intonded: “In this new building, it will take an hour or more!”
A vital organization and part of the Woburn community fabric for over a half century (53 years), the McKeown Boys & Girls Club has become a major community asset, serving now some 1,400 youngsters starting from age 8 right through high school years.