Meet the Candidates: John Simmons, Justin Pare and John Costello

    0
    633
    John Simmons, Justin Pare and John Costello
    MM5 Digital Marketing, helping businesses grow! Call or Text Desiree 614-264-7393

    North Attleborough’s Town Election takes place on Tuesday, April 4, with polls at the high school open from 7 a.m.-8 p.m. All nine seats on the Town Council are on the ballot and 13 candidates are running for them. In this article, you’ll meet three of the candidates.

    John Simmons-Candidate for Town Council

    Please list any experience on other boards, committees or organizations.

    Current-Vice President Town Council, Chair of Finance Sub Committee

    Past-Town Council, Election Commission, RTM, Bristol Masonic Lodge-Master Mason, North Attleborough Girls Travel Softball-Treasurer

    Why are you running for this position?

    North Attleborough has grown quickly in the past few years and I have been fortunate to be in a position to help guide North Attleborough’s future to ensure smart growth with an eye on preserving the small town feel we all know and love. I want to give back to the community that has given me so much so we can continue to build on our recent progress. I not only live in North Attleborough I chose to open my business and raise my family here. I have a vested interest in North Attleborough’s success.

    If elected, what issues would you like to focus on? 

    Economic Growth. North Attleborough needs to attract new businesses and smart development in town. By increasing new growth, the town will make the major projects we are facing such as the MSBA project for the new high school and the possibility of a new fire station more affordable for the taxpayer. My goal will always be to protect the taxpayer while supporting the town’s infrastructure and delivery of services.

    What sets you apart from other candidates?   

    The combination of my professional skills as an attorney, my experience serving in both RTM and on the Council and my relationships with our elected state representatives help set me apart.  These skills will allow me to hit the ground running and continue working on the PFAS situation in the town water, the town budget, the MSBA High School project, the new fire station, the construction of a regional food distribution center and a new Senior Center while trying to attract smart growth and new businesses to protect the taxpayer.

    What are some areas that the town has improved upon and what, in your opinion, remains to be done?

    The town has improved on communication. With the recently redesigned website, media coordinator, new signage, and subcommittee dedicated to increases public participation and awareness this council has made great strides in increasing communication. However, there is much still to be done to ensure the public has all the necessary information about their government. I would like the town to continue to improve its customer service. When a citizen or potential business reaches out to Town Hall the answer to their question should never be “no.” It should be, “how can I help you get to yes.”

    Being part of a board requires one to be a team player. Does your background lend you to working well in this environment? 

    As a father of two teenagers, a small business owner, and former youth sports coach, I stress teamwork on a daily basis. I don’t know how else my wife and I could manage the house, the kids academic and sports schedules, extracurricular activities, the pets, etc. without working together. My office does not function well unless we all work together and do our jobs. The same is true in government. No one person can accomplish anything. The town relies on its administration, the council, the department heads, the employees and all of our wonderful volunteers.

     

    Justin Pare’- Candidate for Town Council

    Please list any experience on other boards, committees or organizations.

    • Council President (Current); Council Vice-President and Chairman of Finance Committee (19-21”)
    • In the former government Board of Selectmen; Finance Committee, and RTM
    • North Attleborough Junior Football- Board of Directors
    • Assistant Coach, North Attleborough Junior Football
    • Head Coach North Attleborough Youth Basketball
    • Head Coach / Assistant Coach, North Attleborough Travel Softball Association
    • Head Coach / Assistant, LNAL Baseball

    Why are you running for this position?

    This is my town.  I love it here, and I enjoy helping people and improving my community.  I believe I still have a lot to give, and there is still much to accomplish. I enjoy partnering with my fellow councilors to help North Attleborough continue to be the best town around! Everything we have accomplished, and will, is based on a full team effort.

    If elected, what issues would you like to focus on? 

    There are many projects that we started that I need to see through to completion. These include: a new senior center and regional foodbank, expanding (again) senior tax exemptions, continuing to upgrade our athletic fields, playgrounds, and outdoor spaces, securing federal and state grants to pay for and complete PFAS remediation in our drinking water, 10-Mile River flood mitigation.  We need to renovate or build a new high school and potentially a fire station—we need a plan to be able to deliver and pay for all of it, while protecting the taxpayers. I’m up to the task.

    What sets you apart from other candidates? 

    As president, I have fostered a collaborative environment and sought to enable councilors to have their ideas heard. I have an MBA from Babson, a top global entrepreneurial program and I am a channel strategy executive at VMware, a cloud technology company. As such, I have brought practices from the business world into town government. I have instituted ‘white board sessions’ during meetings, where we collectively set our Town Council vision and priorities and identify our goals. I don’t know of any other municipality that does this and am thankful to my fellow councilors for helping me make it happen.

    What are some areas that the town has improved upon and what, in your opinion, remains to be done?

    In the last two years, we have made great strides. I am extremely proud of the investments we’ve made in outdoor spaces, especially making Petti Field at WWI park the home of girls softball.  Expanding senior tax exemptions, and soon, finishing the high school athletic complex. We’ve partnered with state and federal officials to bring much needed funding into our town (re: $3M for 10-Mile River flood mitigation)- and this is something we will expand upon in the next two years, especially in areas like PFAS remediation.

    Being part of a board requires one to be a team player. Does your background lend you to working well in this environment? 

    100%. I played team sports my whole life, and now I coach youth sports year-round. Coaching and being part of a team is much fun and incredibly rewarding! I know how to be a good teammate, how to do my job and earn trust, and to build a winning culture and attitude. I have to use the same skills to be successful in the business world. My job is working with partners. I believe helping my teammates to accomplish THEIR goals, is the best way to be successful with my own.

     

    John Costello—Candidate for Town Council

    Please list any experience on other boards, committees or organizations.

    • North Attleboro School Committee 2019-2022
    • September 2022-present (filling out Jim McKenna’s unexpired term)
    • North Attleboro RTM 2014-2017, 2018-2019

    Why are you running for this position? 

    It all boils down to helping people. I am running to help invest in North Attleborough’s future while being mindful of what taxpayers are feeling right now. People appreciate being listened to, and I think my ability to listen closely to what people have to say would serve well as a Town Council Member.

    If elected, what issues would you like to focus on? 

    We need to invest in making the town a top choice for business and commercial growth, as well as chase grant opportunities to ensure we have the revenue to cover the exciting but costly projects that are on the horizon (the projects themselves will aid in this). The focus should be on renewing old and vacant properties into new opportunities for business owners and developers. I am also a big proponent of incentivizing the construction of 55+ housing (perhaps at Emerald Square) to give interested seniors somewhere to downsize in town and allow younger residents opportunities for buying homes.

    What sets you apart from other candidates?   

    Clearly, I am on the younger side, which I think would be an advantage in deciding how to keep North Attleborough a viable town in the long term. I have also had the privilege of serving on the School Committee, which would allow me to be an effective voice for our schools’ needs throughout the budget formation process, and in other decisions made by the Town Council.

    What are some areas that the town has improved upon and what, in your opinion, remains to be done?

    Our downtown is certainly thriving economically compared to what it was a decade ago. However, public safety there and elsewhere is a major issue. I think we can do a better job of listening to small business owners who want to set up shop here to streamline that process and reduce the amount of time business space sits vacant. We also need to be mindful of how new development affects those who are already here, especially regarding traffic and the ongoing rat problem. We need to attract business and families, but we do not want to drive anyone out, either.

    Being part of a board requires one to be a team player. Does your background lend you to working well in this environment? 

    I am a big believer that there is legitimacy in everyone’s perspective and what they have to say, as we all come from different backgrounds and walks of life. This is important to remember as the Town Council makes decisions affecting the whole community. I was part of a program in college that focused on civility and community service, and I have carried those values with me, whether in my capacity as a School Committee Member or at my job as a paralegal helping our nation’s veterans obtain disability compensation.