Incumbent cites experience as opponent seeks more inclusive representation
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The district comprises 10 precincts in Barnstable and two in Yarmouth.
Education: Barnstable High School (class of 1985), some college
Employment: town of Barnstable, Department of Public Works construction inspector
Political experience: 2020 Democratic nominee for 2nd Barnstable District
Other community service: youth group adviser, town of Barnstable; active in my church
Why are you running? What most motivates you?
I am running because I believe we are being underrepresented in this district. We have serious issues facing us in this district and on Cape Cod, among them the need for additional funding to safeguard our elderly and those who need residential care. During this pandemic, we have lost sight of the opioid epidemic that continues to claim the lives of a half-dozen people on the Cape every month; we have a major wastewater infiltration program that Barnstable and Yarmouth have made progress on, which I will continue to press; we need a year-round full-time economy with more job opportunities for our residents; and we need to make housing affordable for all of our citizens, including those who are earning a good salary but unable to afford to live on the Cape. I also want to preserve the professionalism of our police and fire departments in Barnstable and Yarmouth. What motivates me is going to work every day on these issues and giving my community the kind of representation that it deserves.
What is the most pressing issue in the 2nd Barnstable District and how would you address it?
There are a number of critical issues facing our district and the Cape overall, but for me the underlying issue is the chronic lack of career and job opportunities on the Cape. With a stronger job base and low unemployment, I believe that the sense of hopelessness that leads to drug addiction would give way to a sense of hope in many situations. With a more competitive workforce, our health care workers in our hospitals and nursing homes could demand higher wages and benefits they deserve. With a tax base in decline, we can’t adequately address wastewater infiltration, infrastructure investment and added investment into our public schools.
My plan for addressing the inadequate year-round job base is to look at Cape Cod Community College as an underutilized resource in this community. The college should be the hub of job training on the Cape for the renewable energy industry, which has projected 10,000 jobs just from the four offshore wind projects that are expected over the next 10 years.
Cape Cod Community College also needs to have the flexibility to confer four-year degrees, at least in the nursing program to start. Eventually I would like to see 4Cs become a four-year program, and I think that would go a long way toward keeping some of our youth on Cape to study here and hopefully work and raise a family here.
How do you differ from the other candidate? What sets you apart?
Being African-American obviously sets me apart, both because of the color of my skin but also because of the experiences that people of color have in this country, which is very different than the experiences that white people have. What also sets me apart is that I have always had to fight for what I needed, but I had good examples in both my parents, who taught us to work hard and be kind and just to our neighbors and community. This community is in my blood, and I will work very hard for this district.
What other information would you like voters to know about you or policy positions?
I have said from the beginning that this is ‘about we, not me,’ and I sincerely mean exactly that. I think to be a very good representative for your community, you have to put your community first. My policies and my positions on the issues will flow from the community. My job is to listen to my community and work to make their lives better. I wouldn’t know how to do it any other way, because that is how I was raised in my family and community, and how we raised our three children.
Follow Christine Legere on Twitter: @ChrisLegereCCT.