Public endorsements

Public endorsements

I am incredibly grateful for the public endorsements from friends, residents, and collegues.

I have had the pleasure of knowing and working alongside of each of them for many years through my work three-term city councilor, assisting in growing their business at the Attleboro Farmers Market, or solving their resident’s concerns. I am beyond humble and grateful for their kind and honest words and they have taken the time to support and endorse me and our campaign. I look forward to future collaboration and success for Attleboro.

Please vote Heather Porreca for Mayor this Tuesday, November 5th.

October 29, Mayor Debate, Opening Statement

Thank you, Peter.  Thank you to the Sun Chronicle for hosting this event tonight, to DoubleACS for sharing this event with the City, and to those of you here in the audience and watching at home for taking the time to participate in this process.  Tonight is critical to the future of our community and I am excited to share my plans for our collective success with you.

My involvement IN and love for our city started with my faith, grew with my family, and expanded with our community.  My husband and I moved here 20 years ago and immediately became involved in the St. John’s parish as a catechist working with many of your children.  As my own children got older, I became involved in their sports, schools and other organizations. I spent ten years as a bus driver bringing many of your children safely to and from school.  I became a member of the Attleboro Farmers Market and under my leadership, it has grown to one of the most successful markets in New England. Finally, I have been your At-Large City Councilor for six years where, as a team, we have done everything within our power to advance our City.

Now I want to take the next step in my life of service to my community.  I don’t want to just HAVE THE JOB of Mayor. I want to DO THE WORK of the Mayor.  I want to bring everyone to my table to work for the common good. I want business owners at my table talking about how I can support and assist them in helping us to renew and refresh our downtown and foster positive working relationships with the state and our municipal departments. I want to address the lack of sustainability in our school department budget so that our incredible educators at all levels feel the support they deserve.

I was raised believing that “leaders eat last.”  I am just like my mother in that when we have family and friends in our home, my priority is to make sure everyone has what they need. I provide for others before I help myself.  This is what I want to bring to our community as Mayor. I want to provide the services that my neighbors need in a collaborative and supportive way so that we can move towards our shared vision of Attleboro.

Thank you all again, and I look forward to sharing my plan and vision with you tonight.

October 29, Mayor Debate Closing Statement

I think the biggest difference between my opponent, and I hinges on one thing — what it means to be an Executive.

My opponent believes that is about “The Boss”. 

As you have heard, he spends a good deal of time and energy telling people — Department Heads and Municipal Council Members, and even you the citizens of Attleboro — what they can and cannot do. He often says — “Stay in your lane”.

He ordered Department Heads NOT to talk to the media without talking to him first.

He has forbidden Department Heads from speaking to City Council Members.

He blasts any City Council member who speaks directly to a city department.

And has said that if any Department Head has a significant difference of opinion over direction, then they might not be “right for the job”.

I am the Vice President of the Municipal Council. 

I am a lawmaker for this city. 

I know that we need roles and responsibilities within government. 

Those roles were put in place to safeguard the balance of power.

These are people who are trying to work together for a better Attleboro.

The balance of power is not at risk here.

What is at risk is vital communication, understanding and collaboration.

That is what I bring to this election and to this City.

I am, at heart, a Community Organizer.

I work with people to try to achieve great things for this city.

In this campaign, you have heard my opponent talk about *his* accomplishments. 

He has tried to slice and dice mine apart. He is very concerned about “taking credit”.

Can I take sole credit for the wildly successful Attleboro Farmers Market? Absolutely not. However, does anyone really believe that my vision and leadership were not at the heart of its success?

Can I take sole credit for the funding for the new High School being passed? No. 

But I was there, doing my part. He was not.

Unlike my opponent, this is not about me. 

This is not about being fearful that others might take credit for my work. This is about Attleboro. 

In my vision of Attleboro, we work together.

Department heads and employees need to feel safe to state their opinions and expertise without fear of retribution.

Council Members need to be able to work on behalf of their constituents without fear of being blasted through email or in the media.

Unions and city employees need to feel heard and understood.

As a new Mayor, I will *need* to hear differences in opinions. 

Neither my ego nor my understanding of the balance of power are threatened by a difference of opinion. 

Attleboro, we can have it all. A Porreca administration gives our city the best of both worlds, continued progress in our downtown with the added ability to create, maintain and grow positive working relationships.

What I bring to this election is the hope and promise for renewed communication and collaboration. Attleboro is a gem and we have amazing people and resources within this city. I am asking for your support to continue my life-long journey of empowering and collaborating with others to make Attleboro even better. I ask for your vote on November 5 to be your next Mayor.

Hey, let’s talk about it!

Hey, let’s talk about it!

“Ride or Die, Chick”

Yes, that is what I said.  “Ride or Die” means that you will ride any problem out with someone or die trying.  The lengths at which Paul has gone to defend Kourtney for her many mistakes since she took over as Water Superintendent are what made me refer to her as Paul’s “ride or die.”  He continues to unconditionally support her despite the numerous controversies surrounding her and her department since she took over less than a year ago:

  • He tried to illegally veto the council’s “no” vote.
  • He bullied the council in the paper when he knew we could not publicly speak.
  • The TTHM levels in our water were above the state regulated maximum and they delayed notification to the residents as long as legally possible.  (They are currently at the maximum, but that maximum is expected to decrease.)
  • The high number of grievances and employee turnover since she was given the job. 
  • The lack of promised training she was to receive as a condition of her appointment. 
  • The security cameras installed at a pumping station before being approved by the Council. 
  • The exceptionally low  water levels at Manchester Reservoir. 
  • And, of course, the cover up of the Torrey St. gas leak which is what led to that comment. (CLICK for PDF Graphic)
  • He bullied councilors not to move forward with the gas-leak resolution.
  • And now is lying about this poor city worker (ex-city worker)

I was and remain appalled at how the mayor placed blame on one of his employees for what appears to be political purposes.  He is trying to defend his flawed decision to make Kourtney the Water Superintendent at seemingly all costs.  The Mayor claimed that the water department employee was smoking a cigarette in the hole after he smelled gas.  This is a flat out lie.  For Paul to knowingly lie about a family member of one of his administrative assistants while also touting that he had a good relationship with that employee was wildly inappropriate.  He will stop at nothing to cover this up, including adding new information about the incident from his investigation, further proving his lack of communication with not only the city council, but the residents of the city.

The “chick” portion was not intentional.  I wear my emotions on my sleeve and am genuinely transparent.  When I see a leader acting like a bully toward a local city employee and lacking the personal courage to stand up for what’s right, that makes me angry.  I get angry when others are mistreated.  Paul flushes red and gets angry when he feels he isn’t treated well.  I apologize to anyone that was offended by it and tried to restrain my anger in that moment as best I could given his statements.  I think many people in my shoes at the time with the facts of the situation may have said something similar or worse.

A couple of Paul’s supporters are overlooking the egregious lack of morals displayed so clearly by our mayor doesn’t make sense to me.  I’ll try to choose my words more carefully in the future, but I won’t stop being genuinely transparent and wearing my heart on my sleeve.  We can’t treat city workers like this.  In the end, no one is safe from the Mayor’s venomous attacks when it comes to protecting his story. He stated last night, “that is how the game is played.”  The game he is playing put people’s lives in peril.  This is not fear mongering, this is what happen. 

Thoughts from my Kitchen Table #4

Thoughts from my Kitchen Table #4

This week has been interesting to say the least. As the campaign heads into the final three weeks before the election there has been much talk regarding my comments in the “Do your Job!!!” blog entry. My opponent has challenged me for not being ‘nice’ and that my slogan #nicematters is disingenuous. Others have taken to calling me nasty and derogatory names that strong women running for office are all too familiar with. Many are quick to criticize, but few are willing to put themselves out there.

If you want respect, you have to learn to give it too. I continue to be disappointed by the lack of respect given to the Municipal Council. This Council works incredibly well together and respects one another both on and off the Council floor.  I am immensely proud of the work we do as a collective body. Unlike the comments from spectators online, this recent disrespect came from the mayor himself.  I am not OK with him challenging our integrity and not valuing the Council’s level of work and dedication that each of the eleven members give each week.  And worse, this disrespect appears to be done solely to further a political narrative. My response is in defense of each of my colleagues that honorably serve on the Council. It is the same defense that I give to every one of you in our city and will provide to each of our city workers.

Everyday I answer your calls, listen to your concerns and find a solution to the best of my abilities. I field phone calls from residents around the city that support my opponent and I hold no bias. For me, it doesn’t make a difference who you are supporting in the upcoming election, what your political party is, if you’re registered to vote or not; I’m simply following through on my commitment to serve all of Attleboro.The job should never be political or transactional.  It’s about service, it’s about care, it’s about doing the job.

#Nicematters is a goal. Some days I get there and some days I find it hard to hold onto. Everyday I try, boy do I ever try. The family motto ‘nice matters’ and living a life dedicated to service is interwoven into the fabric of my being.  I work for you, regardless of our differences, alliances or pre-determined conscious or unconscious bias. I simply do my job and stand by it. That’s who I am.

On November 5th, it is up to the voters to decide who is working with their best interest in mind.  For those that have worked with me, the answer is easy.

DO YOUR JOB!!!

DO YOUR JOB!!!

In this article, the mayor claims the Council was “being political” by refusing to approve the emergency preamble of a $35k request for 2 new boilers for city hall.  By doing so, the mayor publicly challenged the integrity of my fellow councilors and me. The mayor couldn’t be more wrong and I am troubled by his statements. Unfortunately this is far from the first time he’s tried to cover up his mistakes by blaming others.

The emergency request was sent down in the mayors communication and the Council needed to act based on the documentation he provided to us that night.  In that documentation, we did not have a copy of a quote for the work or even any indication that the job had been sent out for quotes. The Council’s responsibility is to question such requests, especially in the case of emergency measures. It is our duty to ensure proper procurement procedures are followed and the need is valid.  Did the price include a contingency? Were the current boilers inoperable? How long will it take to order and install the new boilers? As is so often the case with our mayor, this measure was grossly underprepared.

Time and again the mayor has demonstrated a complete disregard for the Municipal Council. However, despite having been burned before by an emergency request, the council persisted and considered the boiler motion on behalf of the people who work at City Hall. (For those that don’t recall, the mayor previously lumped an emergency request for cameras in with many end of year budget requests. Upon investigation, it was revealed the cameras had already been installed.) The bulk of the conversation that took place on Tuesday night focused on the potential impact of delaying the boiler work to city workers. There was real concern that city workers should not be punished due to the incompetence of their boss. With very little information, and the absence of the Mayor to discuss the details of his proposed emergency, the Council agreed the two-week delay was unlikely to have a negative impact on city workers. We quite simply needed more information before spending taxpayer money.

This was far from the first time the city council has had to maintain decorum and dance around the ineptitude of this mayor for the good of our city and our residents.  The two major items the Municipal Council has approved: the new high school and the purchase of Highland Country Club, have both happened despite the mayor, not because of anything the mayor did.  The mayor took steps behind the scenes to sabotage the high school project and only supported it when it became politically advantageous. In doing so, he extended the borrowing out to 30 years and cost the residents over $40M.  The purchase of Highland Park happened because it was the right thing to do for the city. The mayor’s handling of the Highland Country Club purchase lacked professionalism and leadership. He refused to simply meet with interested developers.  He failed to conduct a soil sample. Add to that he created an unscientific Facebook poll which resulted in the presentation of an inaccurate and skewed written proposal that was far from professional. Any progress that is happening in our city is happening despite the current mayor, not because of him.

On Tuesday, the council acted with nothing but integrity on behalf of the residents.  For the mayor to suggest otherwise does more to expose his character than anything else. The mayor needs to be more concerned about the marriage and less concerned with the wedding. What that means is that the mayor needs to pay attention and spend more time at city hall doing the actual job instead of spending his days knocking on doors telling residents how much he wants to do the job.  

I have the utmost respect for my fellow councilors and the city council as a governing body.  If elected mayor, I will do my very best to provide complete backup documentation for the council to review. More importantly, I will show up before the council to answer questions on any emergency measure I send down. This is how our two co-equal branches of government should work together and respect each other on behalf of our community and the residents.

Ask me what sets me apart…

Ask me what sets me apart…

… I’m going to respond. FAST.

Jim Hand from The Sun Chronicle called and left me a message asking for a response to a conversation he had with my opponent. He asked about my plans for downtown revitalization and generally what sets me apart from the current administration. The article states that I was unavailable for comment. Mr. Hand left a message at 12:59 pm. I hit send on my email response at 2:01 pm. The following was my timely and thorough response.


Greetings Jim,

I felt it would be helpful for me to respond in writing, but will happily take your call if you need to ask any follow up questions.

Downtown revitalization needs to be broad and sweeping. We also need to be cognizant of the positive effects of having a TOD Zone (transit oriented development). 

There is substantial talk about high speed rail from Providence to Boston. If we are not part of the conversation we will merely be a whistle stop along the way. Attleboro has a 4 rail system, this will allow additional commuter service from Attleboro to Providence and from Attleboro to Boston. The Mayor is aware of the potential impact, but has yet to initiate and conversation with Pawtucket and Providence to get us a seat at the table.

Downtown economic development is more than painting the trim at the Bronson Building or putting up plywood facade at the recently relocated gym. It goes beyond replacing one restaurant with another. My plan is to redevelop downtown with multi use buildings that will be built from the ground up, and fill from the top down. We need to create an  inviting environment for people to move to. We desperately need a mix of market value and affordable housing. With that Retail and Commercial will follow.

The Mayor talks about the Union Street Block, which plans for that originated with the previous administration. The Mayor was only able to close that deal buy giving the developer $295K of CDBG tax payer money. The new owners are dependant on additional funding from the State to fund the project. Per the new developer (as stated on the council floor) If everything goes exactly and perfectly to plan, it will be spring of 2023 before the first shovel goes in the ground. There were promises that the buildings would be leveled by now, and they havent been, so that would be an indicator that things are not developing as hoped.

In early 2018 the Mayor missed the opportunity to designate the downtown eligible for “The Opportunity Zone” grant, managed by the state and funded by federal government. This would have given private developers tax credits to be incentivised to build in Attleboro. North Attleboro had the vision and received 2 grants.

The difference is I have a plan. I have the vision. I have the relationships to get this done starting day one.  I want to see the promises that have been made actually be kept. I want to see our residents flourish.I want to see our city departments work together and feel safe and respected. I want our schools be funded appropriately for future success. Decisions that impact our city will never be made on a whim. Thoughtful consideration will be given to every decision and how each decision impacts others. It starts with generating growth in the downtown, this will benefit every resident and stakeholder an will end the 6 years of stagnant fiscal growth, so we have the ability to properly fund our city departments and build a better future for Attleboro.

I don’t strive to be anything else but Mayor for the City of Attleboro. My focus has always been and will continue to be here in Attleboro.

If you have further questions feel free to call. I will be at highland at 5:30 for opening ceremonies, and will be volunteering all night.

I hope the girls are doing well!

Thoughts from my kitchen table #3

Thoughts from my kitchen table #3

  

I VOTE.. DO YOU??

I am frequently asked what is the most challenging part of running a campaign. Is it the pressure? The time commitment? Fundraising? Balancing family and work responsibilities? (I’ll just say it… laundry is rather neglected these days and the Porreca family has been having more take out than usual….)

Honestly, what is most challenging is the unknown variable, the one thing I don’t have control of:

GETTING PEOPLE OUT TO VOTE ON NOVEMBER 5th.

Today is National Voter Registration Day. 

Every year millions of Americans find themselves unable to vote because they miss a registration deadline, don’t update their registration, or aren’t sure how to register. National Voter Registration Day wants to make sure everyone has the opportunity to vote. Click here for more information. https://nationalvoterregistrationday.org/about/

The last day to register for the upcoming local elections (Porreca for Mayor!) is October 16. Click here to register:https://www.sec.state.ma.us/ovr/

If you have family away in the service, in college or if you will be traveling for work or work long hours you can apply for an absentee ballot. Every Vote Counts!!! Click here: https://www.cityofattleboro.us/DocumentCenter/View/663/Absentee-Ballot-Application-PDF

November 5th is fast approaching. I am committed to Attleboro, to you the residents and to this race. I am giving it EVERYTHING I’VE GOT!

And now I need something from you: I need you to be registered and I need you to VOTE!

Vote because its family tradition. Vote because its your voice. Vote because it is your right. Vote because it matters. Vote because it’s the right thing to do. 

Let’s do this.

Putting the “T” back into the City’s TOD is critical to downtown success

Putting the “T” back into the City’s TOD is critical to downtown success

September 2019

Attleboro is fortunate to have a designated area in the downtown that is zoned for Transit Oriented Development (TOD). I was proud to be part of the Council in November, 2015, when we amended the City Ordinance creating the TOD

(https://www.cityofattleboro.us/DocumentCenter/View/1044/Transit-Oriented-Development-Zoning-District-Ordinance-PDF) .

Some of the advantages of a TOD include urban revitalization, local economic stimulus, carbon footprint reduction and improvements to quality of life by allowing residents to live, work and play in the same area. These have all been a cornerstone of my campaign for Mayor and will continue to be a priority of my administration. I have attached a link to provide more information on how a TOD is beneficial. http://www.tod.org/ .

The two main elements to a TOD are obviously Transit and Development. Paramount to both of these and the driving force behind them, is the COMMUTER. To have a successful TOD, it needs to be a desirable place for commuters to live. By simply focusing solely on the existing transit and  development options without considering a comprehensive strategy to improve all modes of transit in this area throughout our region, we run the risk of neglecting the people who rely on these services and ultimately make family and lifestyle choices based transportation.  I have spoken frequently about the relationships I have established with several developers that are ready to work with my administration and transform our downtown into a vibrant and bustling center of commerce that attracts commuters from both Boston and Providence.


The state line that separates our neighboring community of Pawtucket must become blended. We need to bring a new meaning to our status as a gateway city in such that we open the gates to Rhode Island and facilitate ease of access through public transportation between our great City and our neighboring  cities. 

We need to start this conversation now. The Governor of Rhode Island has announced plans for implementation of high-speed train service to Boston (https://boston.cbslocal.com/2019/08/28/boston-providence-mbta-commuter-rail-plan/ ). Unless Attleboro is included in these discussions, it will absolutely have a negative impact on our Attleboro Commuters, as if things were not challenging enough. 

Some in Rhode Island have even discussed proposals for expanded rail service in their state (https://www.abc6.com/story/40449182/new-private-commuter-train-service-would-link-providence-woonsocket-worcester-and-more ).  We need to inspire and work with our local leaders in Massachusetts, as well as the Mayors of Pawtucket and Providence to develop an effective plan that includes Attleboro and benefits our mutual commuters. Collectively, we will be able to advocate for our Plan with the Governor’s office in Massachusetts and the Governor’s Office in Rhode Island. Attleboro should be actively engaged in these efforts to ensure that we are a priority of each state’s transit plans. We need to highlight the fact that Attleboro is quickly becoming a destination for people to work, live and play.

We are fortunate that the City has the existing infrastructure with a four- rail section at the Attleboro MBTA Station stop.  This can be an important logistical component in having trains stop at the station without tying up other train traffic on the main rail corridor.  Utilizing our existing infrastructure, Attleboro should be included in any transit improvements to this corridor, including Rhode Island’s proposal for high-speed service to Boston and any rail transit expansion in Rhode Island.   Capitalizing on increased transit opportunities provides more choices for people, making the Attleboro TOD a more attractive option.  


The MBTA, GATRA and RIPTA are all critical and key components to ensuring success of an economic revival here in Attleboro.   Expanding transit service to neighboring communities will be a priority of my administration.   I have spoken many times about how Attleboro is in a prime location to be a perfect blending of cultures from Boston and Providence. However, if we do not foster the proper relationships with public transportation providers, we will not achieve our goals. 

It all starts with being the bridge between Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Blending the two states here in Attleboro, becoming the destination. Fostering a relationship with our Governor and state delegation will make sure that we are not just a whistle stop on the way to Boston and Providence, rather we are the point of the spear, the hub, the shining jewel of Southeastern Massachusetts once again.