Brockton 2021 election questions and answers: candidates for outgoing general councilor

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BROCKTON – Brockton will have at least one new general councilor after the Nov. 2 election, with outgoing general councilor Tina Cardoso relinquishing a new term in order to make a mayoral bid against incumbent Robert Sullivan.

In total, there are eight candidates vying for the four seats of general counsel, three incumbents and five challengers.

The three incumbents were the first three to win the vote in the September preliminary elections and were very close to each other, with Rita Mendes garnering the most votes, followed by Moises Rodrigues and Winthrop Farwell Jr.

The five challengers are Gary Keith Sr., who garnered the most votes of all the challengers in the preliminary elections, followed by John Bradley Derenoncourt, David Teixeira, Jamal Brathwaite and Michael Nunes.

The Company contacted all candidates with a questionnaire to help voters get to know them better. Here are the answers of the three incumbents in alphabetical order. Answers have been edited for length. The answers from the challengers are in a separate article.

Winthrop Farwell Jr.

Biography : Farwell, a retired police sergeant from Brockton, was born and raised in Brockton. He attended Northeastern University and Boston University. He served on the Brockton school board for 10 years, served as mayor for four years, served as Massachusetts public safety commissioner for three years, and served as a general councilor since 2016. He is married with two children. children and seven grandchildren.

President of the Council and General Councilor Winthrop Farwell Jr., running for re-election, speaks at the Meet the Candidates for the Brockton Regional Branch forum on Saturday, August 14, 2021, at Brockton High School.

1. What do you think is the biggest problem Brockton is facing right now?

The most important issue facing the city is the safety and security of residents, especially in our schools. There are too many guns in the city and too many shooting incidents.

I recommend creating a “firearms investigation unit” within the police department to focus on all matters relating to firearms, including vigorous efforts to identify those who supply the guns to Brockton and determine which state or region the weapons come from. We should also use targeted prosecutions by federal authorities where appropriate.

Traffic control needs to be tightened. The number of pedestrian and vehicle accidents hitting buildings has spiraled out of control. A highly visible police presence and enforcement of the highway code is a priority. These problems affect Brockton’s image and hamper economic development.

2. What did you do as general counsel to revitalize Brockton, and if re-elected, what more would you do?

Consistent and fair application of the code to clean streets and neighborhoods is absolutely necessary. We need to hold those who violate laws and ordinances accountable for loud parties, ensure businesses get the required licenses, clean up unwanted cars on properties, and tackle environmental violations. I am also in favor of a city-by-neighborhood program to clean the streets and sidewalks in our neighborhoods and business areas.

Finally, I support the continuation of financial assistance programs for new businesses that have the potential for job creation when they set up in a disaster-stricken and underdeveloped area. Tax exemptions provide temporary relief and help a new business succeed.

Recently, I backed a federal loan guarantee for Brockton Beer Works on Main Street. This type of support for local business owners is of crucial importance. Equally important is better dissemination of information on federal and state business assistance programs through the city’s website, chamber of commerce, and community organizations.

3. What did you do as general counsel to make housing affordable in Brockton, and if re-elected, what more would you do?

The city has always maintained a proactive affordable housing program. It is important to continue prudent housing growth in the targeted areas. Our percentage of affordable units exceeds many communities. Senior housing for older residents who wish to stay in the city, but downsizing an existing house, is a priority.

Following:Brockton mayor Robert Sullivan wins pre-election in landslide, Cardoso advance

Rita Mendes

Biography : Mendes, 37, is married with two children. She is a member of the Democratic Party, works both as a litigator and as a real estate broker, and is currently a general counsel at Brockton. She is a graduate of Brockton High School, Massasoit Community College, UMass Dartmouth and New England Law.

General Councilor Rita Mendes addresses the rally during the third annual Father's Day Peace March in Brockton on Sunday, June 20, 2021.

1. What do you think is the biggest problem Brockton is facing right now?

Finances. Unfunded pension liabilities for current and former city employees will continue to be an issue. We have an obligation to ensure that City of Brockton employees who have contributed to the pension system have a viable pension when they retire. Under the aegis of municipal finances is the obligation to provide first-class education to our children. This requires either a rehabilitation of the school or a new building.

2. What did you do as general counsel to revitalize Brockton, and if re-elected, what more would you do?

As a lawyer and business owner, I have reached out to companies looking to open offices in Brockton and focused on resolving issues raised by business owners in order to make the city more user friendly. I have also been a strong supporter of the Brockton Redevelopment Authority, which is the main body in the revitalization of downtown Brockton.

3. What did you do as general counsel to make housing affordable in Brockton, and if re-elected, what more would you do?

Affordable housing is not just a Brockton issue, but a statewide issue as well. Simply put, it is a problem of supply and demand. As a city councilor, I have strongly supported the development of new housing in the city by helping those who wish to build and rehabilitate houses in the city. I have also helped people when trying to navigate the myriad of Brockton City agencies when obtaining permits.

Moises Rodrigues

Biography : Rodrigues has been married to his wife Maria for 35 years. He has three children and two grandchildren. He served in the US Navy for six years and has been a member of city council for seven and a half years. He served as Mayor of Brockton following the death of Mayor Bill Carpenter from July 2019 to January 2020.

Brockton General Councilor Moises Rodrigues

1. What do you think is the biggest problem Brockton is facing right now?

We can talk about public safety and the insecurities that many feel in the town of Brockton as the biggest issues and be done with it. However, I would advise looking at the root of the problem, which is the lack of private investment and the lack of equitable distribution of government funds. With more resources, we can invest more in our public safety, our public education and our deteriorating infrastructure.

2. What did you do as general counsel to revitalize Brockton, and if re-elected, what more would you do?

In over seven years on the board, I have never voted against a revitalization effort and have often encouraged its passage. I have been a strong voice and an advocate for downtown two-way traffic which I believe is the last ditch effort to bring our downtown back.

We also need the Brocktonians to continue to believe in Brockton and “the possibilities.” Government and residents must work together to positively promote our city. Many businesses avoid Brockton because of the behaviors of members of municipal government, whose job it is to make businesses feel more welcome.

3. What did you do as general counsel to make housing affordable in Brockton, and if re-elected, what more would you do?

The challenge is not only to make housing more affordable. The vast majority of homeowners in our city also rent their own properties. They have struggled to make payments on their properties, especially during the pandemic. Often, they cannot take advantage of the public assistance offered to others, due to their income slightly above the poverty line. What I think is necessary are basic grants to marginalized landlords and tenants so that they can meet their obligations.

Enterprise Staff Writer Susannah Sudborough can be contacted by email at [email protected] You can follow her on Twitter at @k_sudborough. Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Enterprise today.



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