By Alderman at Large Bruce Desmond
After twenty years of serving the people of Somerville in both elected and appointed positions I have decided to serve out the remainder of my term and not seek re-election as Alderman at Large in the upcoming local election of 2013. I have always believed that government bodies need to be refreshed from time to time. They need the injection of young minds, new ideas and new energy while also maintaining a respect for the past. I make this announcement now in hopes of attracting new candidates for the position of Alderman at Large. I have spent the last twenty years working to make a great city become an even greater city. It has been extremely challenging and very rewarding. It has been my honor and privilege to be a part of what I believe to be the epitome of what American government truly means; “government of the people, by the people, for the people”.
In 1993, when I was first elected to the Somerville School Committee to represent Ward 3, Federal and State officials were ready to take over Somerville Schools for the purpose of desegregation. In 1994 I was proud of my vote in favor of a city wide school choice program that allowed any child from any part of our city to attend any school they so desired. This very close 5 to 4 vote not only eliminated state and federal official’s segregation concerns but also opened the door to 90% reimbursement for three new schools, the Kennedy, Healey, and West Somerville Neighborhood School. While planning the Kennedy School I saw an opportunity to end the bussing of our special needs students out of Somerville and to provide them with the same opportunities afforded all of our other children, the chance to be a part of the Somerville community. Why shouldn’t they attend the same schools as their brothers and sisters? The SKIP program at the Kennedy school ended two and three hour daily commutes to and from distant schools. These children have thrived in our system and are truly part of this community.
Over the last twelve years I have represented the city at large on tough issues regarding zoning, civil service, commercial development, housing, traffic and parking, and infrastructure to name just a few. A fully developed Assembly Square and the Green Line Extension will prove to be a staple in our city’s economic development and help ease the tax burden off the backs of residential home owners and subsidize it with the increased revenue from a growing commercial tax base. I have supported local businesses by repaving streets, repairing and extending sidewalks and authorizing permits for outdoor seating venues and increasing the availability of liquor licenses. I have worked to ensure that Somerville is a safe place to live, work and raise a family. The men and women of our Fire and Police Departments are as professional, well trained and ready to respond in a crisis equally as well or better than any other force in this country. I have worked to improve our neighborhoods and the quality of life of everyone who lives in them including the lives of our most vulnerable citizens, our seniors, our children, our special needs community and our immigrant community. I have done so with the hope of keeping Somerville as diverse a community as possible. It is in our diversity where we gain our strength. Rich, poor, white, black, Hispanic, Irish, Italian, Portuguese, Haitian, white collar, blue collar, old and young all contribute to what makes this a truly great city. I leave public office with a true sense of accomplishment and a belief that we have instilled in our younger generation the wisdom and desire to govern this great city into the future.
It is now my intent to concentrate on my family, including my one year old grandson Thomas, play golf more often and with any luck get a little better at it. I will also spend more time on the two very important non-profit organizations that I helped establish and remain very important to this community; the Brian Higgins Foundation for Special Needs Children and the Somerville Youth Development and Boxing Club.
I thank the voters of Somerville for the privilege and honor of representing you over the past twenty years. I may not have always voted the way you would have if you were sitting in my seat but I always voted with the best interests of the city in mind. I leave with my head high, my dignity and honor in tact, and with a very high sense of accomplishment. I leave office with the city I love in better shape than when I found it and that was my only goal all along. Thank you to my many colleagues over the years, most of whom are among the most sincere and effective public servants to ever hold office and I am proud to have served with them. Thank you to Mayor Joe Curtatone whose high energy level, his level of commitment to this city and his vision for the future of this city is unparalleled.
To my family and friends, especially my in-laws and my many nieces and nephews, all of whom would drop whatever they were doing every two years to campaign for their old uncle Bruce. Thank you and I love you. Finally, thank you to my wife Barbara, my children Matthew, Caitlin, Seamus and Joseph for all the time and effort you spent campaigning for me over the years, encouraging me, defending me and for having to endure those who lacked the courage of voicing their criticisms to my face but instead thought it ok to voice it to you, my wife and children. Thank you for allowing me the thousands of hours away from you to pursue a dream. You are my true pride and joy, you are my true source of strength, you are my heroes and the only thing I will ever truly need in this world.
As I leave public life I take great pride and solace knowing that my oldest son Matthew will be announcing his candidacy for Alderman in Ward three in the very near future. I am proud of the man he has become. His honesty, his hard work ethic, his love of this city and his genuine concern for the people in it will make him an extraordinary Alderman for the people in Ward 3.