District 2 City Council candidate Pam Richardson
District 2 is Precincts 3 and 5
Occupation: Legal Professional – currently Contracts Manager at Cambridge Biotech
Years lived in Framingham: 21 years in current home, 3 years in 1st home – 24 years total
Family (optional): Married for 26 years! 2 children who attended Framingham Public Schools and are currently in college
Municipal experience: Served in the Massachusetts House of Representatives as Framingham’s State Representative from 2006-2010, Framingham School Committee from 2003-2006 and Town Meeting from 2001-2003.
Volunteerism: Previously a member of PTO and a member of the Mass. Association of School Committee’s Board of Directors. Member of Friends of Saxonville. Gubernatorial appointment to the Mass Bay Community College Board of Trustees in 2011 and was appointed by Governor to serve as Chair in 2012, and served as Chair of the Board until 2015
In less than 100 words, why should someone vote you to represent them as a City Councilor?
I have a track record of results! As a School Committee member and as State Representative, in collaboration with other community leaders I accomplished the following:
- Secured a $12.9 million earmark in the Life Sciences Bill for infrastructure improvements in the Framingham Technology Park
- Fought for the revised Chapter 70 Education formula which lead to a 22 percent increase in school funding for Framingham
- Secured a 15 percent increase in overall state aid for Framingham
- Secured a legislative change to allow for the re-construction of Bowditch Field Athletic Complex
My qualifications and background have prepared me to serve District 2 and will enable me to have a positive impact as we transition to city government!
In less than 100 words, describe your district: Nobscot and Saxonville are two unique, desirable villages with an appreciation of their historic past
which is present in the architecture of many buildings and configuration of the neighborhood. The district overall is family friendly and includes King, Dunning, Walsh and Framingham High. Cochituate Rail Trail, part of the Nature Trail, McAuliffe Branch Library, Nobscot Chapel, Saxonville Mills, Danforth St. Bridge, Athenaeum Hall, Reardon and Danforth Parks and Saxonville Beach are all part of the district which includes parts of the Sudbury River and Lake Cochituate. There are also great small businesses, restaurants, artist studios, a post office and three large commercial properties with development potential.
Website or Facebook page link: https://www.facebook.com/PamRichardsonFramingham/
Editor’s Note: Candidates were asked to provide one-word answers only. Richardson chose not to answer these questions.
How much would you vote to increase (or decrease) the tax levy in your first year of office?
I would never cut ___________________________ from the City of Framingham budget.
Do you support a split tax rate for businesses and homeowners?
What business is needed in your district?
What amenity is lacking in your district?
Would you vote for a debt exclusion override to build a new school in Framingham?
Should the Athenaeum become a community center for District 2?
Would you support the creation of a dog park in Framingham?
Would you support the construction of a splash pad in Framingham?
Life in District 2 is ____________________________________.
Does Your District need a community police substation?
What is your favorite place in Framingham? (just one place):
What is your favorite place in your Nobscot? (just one place):
What is your favorite place in Saxonville? (just one place)
I will bring ___________________________ to the Framingham City Council
Richardson wrote in her submission: “I am happy to share my perspective on the subject matter in this section, but I am choosing to not answer
the questions as I feel many of them deserve more than a one word response.”
Editor’s Note: Candidates were given up to 350 words to answer each question. Answers are copy & pasted into this report.
QUESTION #1: In your opinion, what is the biggest issue facing your district? How would you go about fixing it as a city councilor?
Underutilized commercial properties which have lingered for years continue to be a pressing issue for the district.
For years residents in both Nobscot and Saxonville have voiced their concerns and have indicated their support for a change which could include more businesses to
the area such as grocery stores, restaurants and shops. Currently the State Lumber and Nobscot Shopping Center are not being utilized in a way which serves the community well despite loud demands for change.
As city councilor I will take a proactive approach towards the development of both properties and work with our mayor, adjacent councilors and our planning and economic development departments as well as neighborhood organizations to determine appropriate development and to solicit and incentivize proposals which will align with neighborhood needs.
QUESTION #2: 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?
I am proud of my record advocating for Framingham Public Schools as a PTO member, School Committee member and State Representative. The first time I spoke at Town Meeting was when my children were in preschool. I was Chair of the Education Standing Committee and I spoke in support of the renovation of Framingham High School which was in danger of losing accreditation due to facility related concerns. Loss of accreditation of Framingham High would have been devastating for Framingham and I was proud to speak in support of the project.
I believe it is imperative that we spend within our means, stretch every dollar and find efficiencies wherever we can. Framingham cannot afford to allow our schools to fail – and we currently have several Level 3 schools which are in danger of potential state intervention if they don’t improve. If the school committee is doing their job and presents a budget which includes efficiencies and reductions when appropriate and presents a plan which addresses the challenges we are facing I would support it.
QUESTION #3: Traffic is a major issue in your district? How will you work with the neighborhood, other city councilors, and the new mayor to solve the problem.
Efforts to make the area more pedestrian and bicycle friendly need to continue and should be part of an overall master plan. Encouraging use of alternative modes of transportation including public transportation should be a priority.
When a development project is proposed for the area, efforts to mitigate the traffic need to be factored in. Framingham received mitigation funds as a result of the Planned Unit Development and the funds were used to address increased traffic in the School St. / Concord Rd. intersection. Overall traffic through the intersection has slowed significantly with the installation of the lights and pedestrians (including students walking to Framingham High School) and bicyclists have had a much safer, easier time navigating the area.
Whenever any new development is proposed for District 2 which will increase traffic (including redevelopment of underutilized properties such as State Lumber and Nobscot Plaza) mitigation needs to be part of the conversation during the approval process. All projects of this magnitude will require changes to our roadways, sidewalks, traffic lights, etc … in order to best manage and alleviate the impact to the surrounding neighborhoods.
QUESTION #4 – What is your view of open space vs economic development for your district?
District 2 does not have many parcels which could be preserved as open space due to the density of existing development. The green space that we do have includes Danforth and Reardon Parks, Framingham High School athletic fields, MWRA property, Cochituate Rail Trail and Saxonville Beach all of which need to continue to be open space and preserved. There have been some conversations about converting the front yard of the Anthaneum into a small public park, this would be a welcome addition to the village and would make the area more pedestrian and bicycle friendly.
QUESTION #5 – Your district includes portions of both Nobscot of Saxonville. Two neighborhoods with their own character and their own groups (Nobscot Neighbors and Friends of Saxonville). Talk about your future role with these neighborhoods. How will you make sure both neighborhoods are treated equally as a city councilor?
Previously as an elected official in Framingham I handled constituent phone calls and emails expeditiously and regularly convened interested parties to discuss solutions to local concerns. I also communicated via social media and email newsletter. As District 2 City Councilor I plan to provide the same level of service to all of my constituents. I will also plan to hold regular coffee hours and roundtable discussions at local establishments and I plan to attend and participate in meetings and events hosted by neighborhood associations which focus on Nobscot and Saxonville.
QUESTION #6 – Do you think Framingham is family friendly? Why or why not? What would you do to do make the community more inviting to families? What can be done in your district?
I have found Framingham to be very family friendly which may be contributing to increases in our school age population! Quality public schools are a top priority for most families. I am proud of my record in this area and will continue to be a strong supporter and advocate for quality public schools.
QUESTION #7 – As a city councilor how will your help bring new businesses to your district and to the community? Feel free to include the empty plazas, the former Saxonville lumber space, and the TJX areas.
As State Representative, I helped secure $12.9 million for water and sewer infrastructure repairs to Framingham Technology Park which allowed Genzyme to build an additional building, and brought 300 biotech jobs to the area. Attracting large companies to the area often requires this type of investment from the state and the town. This is the type of project I enjoy working on and hope to work on in the future.
Small businesses need help as well, and many are frustrated with Framingham. Our municipal departments need to streamline required permitting and inspections and provide assistance with signage requirements. When working with our small businesses we need to be proactive and provide assistance rather than reactive with fines and penalties.
QUESTION #8 – How will you make sure that residents in your neighborhood have a voice in the new City of Framingham, if elected? Give specifics.
In order to serve as the voice of my district, I will need to hear from the residents. Previously as an elected official in Framingham I handled constituent phone calls and emails expeditiously and regularly convened interested parties to discuss solutions to local concerns. I also communicated via social media and email newsletter. As District 2 City Councilor I plan to provide the same level of service to all of my constituents. I will also plan to hold regular “office hours” and roundtable discussions at local establishments and I plan to attend and participate in meetings and events hosted by neighborhood associations which focus on Nobscot and Saxonville.
For certain City Council votes it will be important to hear directly from the residents and public hearings will be necessary in order to allow residents to share their perspective. I support this concept and will advocate for public hearings when input from the community is warranted so that residents can speak directly to the issue.
QUESTION #9 – Your have a large geographic district, includings apartment and condo complexes, how will you get residents in your neighborhood more involved in their community? more involved in government?
Typically people become involved in government when something upsets them, or concerns them. If they aren’t able to share their concern they become frustrated and disengaged. As I have mentioned earlier in this questionnaire I welcome phone calls, emails and communication via social media and I respond right away. I plan to hold regular office hours and roundtable discussions in “high traffic” places such as McAuliffe Library and I plan to attend neighborhood meetings and condominium or apartment complex meetings if appropriate. It will be important to make sure that all contact information for city councilors is easily accessible on the official Framingham Government website.
QUESTION #10: Framingham is a community of full of social, economic and cultural diversity. What can you do as a councilor to not only represent your district but to the bring the nine districts together as one City?
Having served as a school committee member and as State Representative in Framingham I have represented people from all corners of the community and recognize that each area has its own unique strengths and its own unique areas of concern. A positive aspect of the city initiative is that it allows each section of the community a seat at the table on Framingham’s major governing boards. The best way to solve problems is to do so collectively and I am looking forward to working with the other district councilors representing every corner of the community. This election cycle is the most involved and exciting municipal election in recent
history! Clearly, we are entering a new era! Collectively the councilors will work together to have an impact on the future of our community and I am optimistic good things are ahead!