State Representative and Waltham mayoral candidate Tom Stanley spoke to students and community members on Monday, Oct. 8 at an event co-sponsored by Hunger and Homelessness, a club of Waltham Group. Stanley, a Democrat, served in the Ways and Means Committee at the State House and has served as president of the Waltham City Council. Though the position is non-partisan, Stanley has been endorsed by the Brandeis Democrats and will run against the current mayor of Waltham, Jeannette McCarthy.
McCarthy has been mayor of Waltham since 2004, and like Stanley, has lived in Waltham her entire life. Stanley ran for mayor against McCarthy in 2003, an election McCarthy won with 70 percent of the vote. According to the Boston Globe, in 2014 Stanley had $87,473 in his campaign account and McCarthy had just over one thousand. McCarthy came to speak at the Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis last spring at an event titled “Tea, Cookies and Conversation with Waltham Mayor Jeannette McCarthy.”
At his visit to Brandeis this week, Stanley addressed what he sees as the most challenging problems the city is facing now. Among these were the city’s sizable immigrant population and substance abuse problems. “I love this city, I love it a lot … and I think it’s really good, but I know in my heart of hearts that we can be better, we can be better in so many ways, one of which is reaching out to the diverse population that we have in Waltham and getting them involved,” he argued.
According to Stanley, there are over 60 languages spoken at Waltham High School, where the high population of English Language Learners (ELL) can prove challenging. To reach out to the immigrant community, Stanley suggested “a culture and diversity committee and also a liaison in the mayor’s office to our immigrant community, someone who would preferably speak Spanish.”
Though Waltham has, in Stanley’s opinion, been seen as a good place to do business, the lack of modernization and cumbersome bureaucratic procedures have caused economic problems. Stanley suggested appointing someone in charge of economic development to facilitate the relationship between the city government and businesses.
In Waltham, the percent of people admitted to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Bureau Abuse Service Contracted Programs for heroin use has grown from 26 percent in 2005 to over 44 percent in 2014. In light of this and other public health issues, Stanley suggested appointing a director of Health and Human Services for the city.
Modernization of the city government and management was one of Stanley’s focuses. His campaign website explains plans to create a “a 21st Century Planning Office to be led by a qualified and experienced Planning Director.” This office would work on infrastructure, attempt to improve the cities issues with traffic, and modernize other aspects of the city. Stanley also proposes conducting an Economic Development Self-Assessment Tool (EDSAT) study.