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.

Thoughts from my kitchen table #2

Thoughts from my kitchen table #2

Ahhh.. a moment to sit and reflect. Priceless.

Labor Day has come and gone, and similar to many families in our city the Porrecas are in full swing with back to school, work, farmers market, council and yes, the Campaign. 

Team Porreca has been out and about visiting with residents and dropping signs. I’ve been door knocking everyday and am pleased to report that not one resident has turned their sprinklers on or slammed a door in my face. See… nice really does matter. (I knew you had it in ya Attleboro, contrary to what social media would have you believe)

Knocking on doors can be intimidating. I was raised to respect boundaries and personal space. This deeply ingrained policy proves to be a challenge while out on the campaign trail.

Do you go to the front door? The side door? Will you be disrupting nap time for the baby and maybe mom as well? Is the family having a late lunch/early dinner that you will be interrupting? Is it cleaning day, and the homeowner is in scrubs covered in bleach and vinegar trying to get their bathroom to shine? Will the dog bark and get all excited disrupting the whole house? Does the gentleman mowing his lawn really want to stop what he’s doing to have a chat about the future of Attleboro? In a similar circumstance out on Slater Street it was a mom of 3,and she had a really nice lines on her lawn. Props to you!!! 

This past Saturday, my daughter Maggie was my canvassing sidekick. This girl is something else! She constantly and consistently keeps me motivated and positive. When I was expressing my discomfort of encroaching on people’s personal space, she said, “Ma, just think of it as Trick or Treating.”

She stopped me cold. She was right.

Now it’s been roughly 40 years since I’ve been trick or treating for myself and about 7 since my kids were active trick or treaters. This is my take on what Maggie describes as “campaign trick or treating”

The treat is that I get to introduce myself to people and share why I am running for Mayor. The trick, that turns into a treat, is to make that personal connection and secure their vote. I strive to have meaningful conversations so that both parties feel that they have learned something, I don’t go out there simply to gain sign placement.  Signs don”t vote. People do.

If I haven’t made it to you house yet I am doing my very best to get there. I am enormously grateful to my family for their continued support and for picking up the slack at home so I can be out there spreading our family motto:  #nicematters.

Thoughts from my kitchen table

Thoughts from my kitchen table

August 28, 2019

It is stated that,

Education is knowledge acquired in formal learning environments. Intelligence is that actual ability to learn, to acquire, assimilate, and use new knowledge.

There has been discussion and speculation regarding my educational background. Now seems like a good time to put those misconceptions to rest.

But first, I would like to state that my opponent’s education credentials are quite extraordinary and should be celebrated.  Education is a cornerstone of our country and should never be diminished.

Personally, I am a proud graduate of Norwood High School Class of 1989. (I will be attending my 30th HS reunion in October!)

I earned an Associate’s Degree from Massachusetts Bay Community College in Business Management with a minor in Retail. Additionally, I have taken several courses on my way to a Bachelor’s Degree.

I have had the honor to be elected and serve on the Attleboro Municipal Council for the past 3 terms. I feel it is reasonable to equate the last six years of hard work, dedication and time to a master’s degree in Municipal Government. The vast institutional knowledge and willingness to share has helped educate me so I understand the inner workings of the City of Attleboro.

In addition to my formal and informal education, I was a school bus driver for eleven years. I am raising 3 hardworking children. I continue to managed a hugely successful farmers market for the better part of the last 10 years, where I have learned how to run an organization focused on attracting small businesses as well as the consumers that drive them, skills certainly useful considering the current state of our downtown.

I do not make it a practice to judge or evaluate people based on their educational level or a degree they have achieved. Education does not equal intelligence. In my life I am surrounded by many individuals who have a have a string of letters after their name, and many who don’t.  Both have been successful in providing exceptional lives for themselves and their families. Many of these hard-working individuals are the most intuitive and brilliant people around. I have nothing but true respect for them.

There has been a substantial discussion on social media about my education and somehow equating it to a lack of intelligence or ineptitude. It has been stated repeatedly that I didn’t graduate high school, that I “only have a GED”, that I’m stupid and I’m only qualified for what was described as a low-level position at the bus company. It is truly disturbing. So, as I tend to do, I ruminate on the effects of those words. I find myself flooded with emotions which quickly turns to disgust with a splash of fury.  I think about how others might feel when they read posts whose intent is to shame and intimidate based on the simple elitist notion that educated=qualified. There is no thought given to who may identify with these words. For the past several years I have attended the Commencement ceremony for the Attleboro Community Academy.  ACA is a Massachusetts state accredited high school diploma program, independent from Attleboro High School, which provides an alternative path to graduation for struggling students and high school dropouts from Attleboro and the surrounding communities. It is the most uplifting event I attend all year. I recognize that many these students are highly intelligent and capable. They have learned life skills many of us will never have to tap into. Many had no choice.

So what happens when these comments are shared and posted over and over? It divides our city. It puts all our residents in separate boxes. The haves and the have nots. The smart and the dumb. The educated vs. intelligent. The words reinforce an idea to many that they are not good enough, lack intelligence, and shouldn’t strive for their dreams and goals…  and heaven help you if you want to be the Mayor for the City of Attleboro.

For much of my life I have been underestimated. In many ways that notion is a fuel that keeps me striving for more and gives me the motivation to accomplish my goals.

All I have to say to those who find themselves in the same boat as me: be open, keep learning, keep working, you may not get there the first time, but keep grinding. Never lose focus. You’ve got this. I’ve got your back.

And to the ones who judge and criticize, never underestimate the passion, drive and desire someone has to attain their goals and dreams.

In other words: Tell me I can’t, and I will show you exactly how I can. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.

12 Weeks to Election Day!

12 Weeks to Election Day!

A message from the Committee to Elect Heather Porreca

Yard Sign Placements

Our team is organizing the hundreds of sign request we have received for yard sign placement, which will be happening in the upcoming weeks, We would be honored to be able to place a sign in your yard. If you have already requested a sign, we have you on our list and appreciate the use of your home. If you would like to show your support and have a yard sign please request one through this link and we will be happy add you to the list. https://heatherforattleboro.com/yard-sign-request

Campaign Donations

On behalf of Heather, the Committee to Elect Heather Porreca thanks all of you that have been so very generous with your donations to the campaign. The support has been terrific. We are not done yet, we still are working hard to get Heather’s message for a better Attleboro out to all the voters. We are ready to finish strong in November and then get to work in January, your support is so essential. If you are able to make a donation to the campaign, we would be very grateful. Please follow the link below for monetary support. https://heatherforattleboro.com/donations/donate-to-the-committee-to-elect-heather-porreca