Editor’s Note: If the answer is blank, the candidate chose not to answer
Framingham Mayoral Candidate Yvonne Spicer
Occupation: Vice President for Advocacy and Educational Leadership, Museum of Science, Boston
Years lived in Framingham: 32
Which City District Do You Live In: District 4 (Precinct 6)
Municipal experience: Elected Town Meeting Member, Standing Committee on Ways and Means
Past: Human Relations Commission, Democratic Town Committee
Volunteerism: Select volunteer experiences include President-Elect for 2017 of the International Technology Engineering Association; Founding Board of Directors Member of Massachusetts Technology Collaborative; Science Club for Girls; Delta GEMS at Delta Sigma Theta Sorority
Website or Facebook page link: www.yvonnespicerformayor.com
Editor’s Note: Candidates were asked to provide one-word answers only
What is your favorite place in Framingham? (just one): Waushakum Pond
How much would you vote to increase (or decrease) the tax levy in your first year of office? Depends
Do you support a split tax rate for businesses and homeowners? Depends
Apartments in Framingham — Too many, just right, not enough? Will be looking for balance
Should City Hall remain in downtown Framingham? Yes
Does Framingham need an arts center? Yes
Would you support the creation of a dog park in Framingham? Yes
Does Framingham need a town pool, a splash pad, or neither? Splash Pad
Name one business that Framingham needs: Safe, healthy entertainment for our children and teenagers
Describe Framingham in one word: Promising
Mayoral Candidates discuss:
1) Making Framingham more Family-Friendly
2) Saving the arts in Framingham
3) Fixing the traffic congestion in Framingham
Editor’s Note: Candidates were given up to 350 words to answer each question. Answers are copy & pasted into this report.
QUESTION #1 – The Framingham Public Schools represent more than 50 percent of the total budget for the community. Would you support a level-funded budget, a level service budget, and increase in the school budget or a decrease in the school budget? Why?
Undoubtedly our children deserve the best of what we can offer them. That said, we are operating in a world of limited resources, ever-increasing mandates on our schools, and the need to balance our investments in our schools with the needs of the larger tax-paying community.
I will strive to maintain a level service budget, allowing for critical investments in our teachers, facilities and instructional technology and also allowing for adjustments needed in our programing that will yield better results. With our student body growing steadily over the recent years, we are already planning for accommodating the additional students and rebuilding one of our middle schools. In our new city the Mayor will shoulder balancing the school budget – our
biggest annual investment by far – with all the other demands on the resident taxpayers: infrastructure maintenance and improvements, care for our seniors, etc. Spending our dollars wisely and designing our programs so that they yield greater student access and achievement are only one part of the equation. I will support Superintendent Tremblay’s and the School Committee’s as they develop goals and work to achieve them.
Also, I am an educational leader and bring to Framingham a long-standing experience. I was appointed by Governor Deval Patrick and reappointed by Governor Charlie Baker to serve on the Massachusetts STEM Advisory Council. I also served as an advisor to statewide initiatives shaping education such as learning, standards, and assessments for science, technology, and engineering as well as career and technical education.
As a Mayor, I will use my influence to advocate for equitable funding for our schools in order to adequately support the city budget. I have been at the table advocating for children and education for many years. I will work with legislators to increase Special Education funding for Framingham and to update the outdated
foundation budget. I am excited to focus my efforts on advocating for Framingham’s children, for excellence and academic achievement across all our schools, and for the healthy balance of investing in our schools and in the rest of our community.
QUESTION #2 – Framingham is home to Framingham State University and MassBay Community College. How will you work with these two schools to make sure they are community partners with the City of Framingham? Would you support a tuition free program for Framingham students, like the City of Boston initiative?
Framingham State University and MassBay Community College are a Framingham treasure and I will work hard to foster partnerships between them, our career and technical schools, and our business community – to prepare our young people for the jobs of the future. This work is critically important for attracting new investment from businesses and for keeping our young people here in Framingham for generations to come.
As a Mayor I will request that my leadership team meet with Framingham State University and MassBay Community College to evaluate and set long-term relationship goals, including tuition-free programs for Framingham students. For this work to be successful, it needs to be carefully planned to benefit all parties involved.
Beyond the work of preparing our future generations, Framingham State University and Mass Bay Community College are an invaluable partner in bringing programming and creating a cultural environment in which all are welcome and valued for who they are. I am committed to inclusion and diversity in our government, to caring for seniors and veterans, and to strengthening our women and families. We should continue working to provide educational, cultural, and income opportunities for our residents and to bridge the differences of language, culture, and ability across our community. Investing in our people now is investing in our future and prosperity. To read more about my plan for investing in Framingham’s people, please go to my website at http://www.yvonnespicerformayor.com/.
QUESTION #3 – Do you feel there is waste in the Framingham municipal budget? If so, please site specific areas where you would reduce funding. In creating your budget, where would you want to spend more money? Give examples.
The question of crafting a balanced budget is less a question of waste in municipal government and more one of balancing the needs of the community. When we craft the budget, we should be asking informed questions about why we need to spend and the value added for the expenditure. We also need to be looking at ways to do things much more efficiently and collaboratively between departments. As a Mayor, my fiscal strategy would be to provide accountability and transparency in budgeting.
QUESTION #4 – Discuss your vision for Framingham for economic-development. Be specific with properties like Nobscot Plaza, Saxonville lumber yard, Mt. Wayte Plaza, downtown Framingham, the Golden Triangle and Tech Park.
The mandate we have received from the people of Framingham is clear: we need to revitalize and redevelop our blighted plazas and our downtown, and help our businesses prosper. I will bring together the various actors in this process under the hat of the new Framingham Planning and Development Agency (FPDA) to make sure we all work together to achieve our vision. We will work together with state and federal agencies to ensure we bring all the resources we need
for planned growth and balanced development.
As your Mayor, I will lead the FPDA to create a plan for preserving our community’s environmental and historic gems while coordinating the efforts to revitalize our blighted plazas and our downtown. With several projects under way by January 1, 2018, we need to be very thoughtful about how we plan and execute any future projects. We need to make sure that we plan holistically, that any new additions serve the needs of the community for dining, shopping, and entertainment. It is also essential to be selective in partnering only with developers who share our vision for healthy vibrant communities that encourage home ownership and pride in
maintaining the properties. The FPDA will interface with the community to maximize input into the scale and type of development in our new city.
I will regularly establish an Innovation Task Force to consult expert government and industry leaders to help us innovate in areas like housing, transportation, government services and accessibility. We will be deliberate in our effort. We will examine our past experiences and will explore all options regarding any of the unresolved blighted plazas and our downtown with a single goal: a plan for the best possible outcome for all of Framingham’s residents. To learn more about my plans for establishing the FPDA and invigorating our economy through planned growth and balanced development, you can read my comprehensive Platform at
QUESTION #5 – Does Framingham have a racial and economic equity problem in your opinion? If yes, how would you address it as a mayor.
Framingham is wonderfully diverse community of about 70,000 people. But we do have difficulties appreciating and caring for each other. We are truly and fully capable of such communion and care – just look at the amazing ways in which we come together to support our sick children or to cheer on our shining stars, like the astronaut who took our name to space. We also need to find ways to care for each other in our every-day lives.
As a Mayor, I will make it a priority to bridge our divides by bringing us together. And what better way to start learning about each other and creating relationships than coming together for a meal? I vow that I will work hard to create such city-wide opportunities for the people to come together and start the work of
bridging the cultural, racial, economic, and language divides in our otherwise beautiful community.
I am also committed to inclusion and diversity in our government. Every resident of Framingham should be able to access our local government services, regardless of language, race, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical or mental ability. I will work tirelessly to ensure that our government is equipped to communicate with all residents about their concerns. I will also make sure that immigrants feel welcome, and valued for their contributions.
The question of equity in our community is a question of strengthening all of our residents, and especially our women and families. As Framingham’s Mayor, I will be looking to level the playing field for women and families in our city. I will initiate a review of Framingham’s policies to make sure that our local government represents our values in areas of quality paid leave policies, reasonable child care assistance, and summer job opportunities for our young people. I will support our local unions in their work for fair wages and advocating for employees’ rights in the workplace. I will be a Mayor who looks out for families. The path to equitable society is a path of providing economic opportunity to those who most sorely lack it.
QUESTION #6 – How would you make Framingham more green? Outline the steps you would take in your 4-years.
Our first city administration will be committed to sustainability and environmental stewardship.
Ten years ago, Framingham became a statewide leader in environmental stewardship when the town created the “Greener Framingham Committee.” The committee was tasked with engaging with our town leaders to find ways to make environmentally responsible decisions and recommendations. As your Mayor, I will create a permanent “Greener City Committee” to continue this work and to make sure Framingham is doing its part to invest in renewable energy and sustainable, smart practices. The committee will be made up of concerned Framingham residents, as well as experts in relevant fields, and we will work across departments to propose
initiatives, engage with relevant departments, and educate our community about how we can develop a reputation as one of the greenest communities in Massachusetts.
Framingham is a very unique community – we are home to beautiful open spaces in addition to our bustling neighborhoods. In recent years we have been in a dialogue about the future of those open spaces – of our farms, parks, and green areas. As Mayor, I will strive for achieving and maintaining a balance between all competing interests. I will encourage creative thinking around preserving and protecting the wealth of open spaces we currently enjoy – while exploring with
our land and farm owners all viable approaches to becoming and remaining competitive and prosperous.
Working with our Parks and Recreation Department, we will bring new opportunities for our families to thrive. Whether it is a splash pad for our littles ones, a dog park for our “best friends,” or a green pocket park for our densely settled neighborhoods, we will look at how we can improve our green spaces and ensure equity and access to these spaces across town.
QUESTION #7 – The biggest problem facing Framingham that no one talks much about is: _________________ And I would address it by: _____________.
The biggest problem facing Framingham that no one talks much about is bridging our differences – cultural, linguistic, etc.
And I would address this problem by setting the stage for long-term city-wide programs that will allow us to talk to each other, listen to each other, and start
appreciating each other. (See answer above.)
QUESTION #8 What would you accomplish in your first 100 days? Be specific.
In my first 100 days I want to make sure that we have a team in place to aid in the transition and to realize the vision outlined in my Platform (for example, setting up a 311 hotline and neighborhood associations.) Having these components in place ensures transparency, strong leadership and aids in the process of creating a strategic plan. I vow to establish the basis and set the tone for transparent, equitable government. Our policies will reflect our community’s shared aspirations. We want a smooth transition to our new form of government. We want strong leadership for redevelopment of our downtown and our vacant and underused properties. We want great schools and commitment to innovation and investment in education for our children. We want to preserve our open spaces and Framingham’s affordability. We want to continue investing in our people so our children who grow up here can afford to work, live, and stay right here in Framingham.
I am not a career politician; my only interest is in serving you. I am eager to begin working on your behalf as Framingham’s first Mayor, setting the vision for our dedicated municipal leaders and employees. The first Mayor in our new city government will have a unique opportunity to set the bar high for all to follow. This is why it is essential that the first Mayor is a leader of character and integrity, is committed to engaging the Council and the municipal leadership in the
decision-making process, and can guarantee transparency and community participation. Our city government will be efficient and imaginative. It will be accessible to all, inclusive, and run for the people, not for moneyed interests. I will work for all of you. I will be the People’s Mayor.