Why are you running for mayor?
I feel a deep sense of responsibility to fight for the future of our community. Though there are many aspects to those feelings, they can be mostly summed up in two key points:
For far too long we have sat idly by, watching as the same types of leaders, with the same old mentalities and methods, produce the same disappointing results. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly expecting different results. It is unacceptable to allow this to continue. It is our responsibility to stop this trend.
It is our responsibility, as the next generation of leaders to pick up the baton. We are a hibernating force; a sleeping giant. We have been weighed down by the inconsistencies witnessed in the generation before us, continually burdened by feelings of helplessness as we are blamed for mistakes that are not our own. There was a time where people had President John F. Kennedy or Dr. Martin Luther King to look to as an exemplary leader, a champion, who would challenge us, lead us, and inspire greatness. Without a champion, many lack an ability to believe we are able overcome. Until those champions arise for our generation, it is this campaign team’s responsibility to inspire and make a way for them.
What would you like to tell voters about your qualifications?
Though I have never held formal political office, I bring abilities and qualifications unmatched by my fellow candidates. As a pastor, itinerant speaker, and leadership trainer, I have traveled coast to coast, as well as outside the country specializing in finding solutions to the “impossible”, working with the “unworkable” and getting the most out of the very least by helping people reach their full potential. This transition calls for a Champion to lead us towards our greatest potential as a community. A Champion must possess many qualities such as boldness, character, integrity and a strong moral compass. I have been that champion for many years and am committed to being that person for our community for many years to come.
What if any are your plans to keep in touch with residents – to seek their input and communicate your votes and other activities?
A simple “Citizens of Framingham” website with easy to use interface that would organize, promote and provide information on the day-to-day activities of the city government. Allowing residents to easily submit their comments, concerns, needs and questions. Everything from pot hole locations to budget decisions would be simply displayed with ease of use.
A “Framingham Friends and Family” app that would work hand in hand with our website to give residents hands on, real time ability to communicate their needs with city leadership. Also allowing citizens to have access to videos and any other media pertaining to city workings right at their fingertips.
Most importantly we would capitalize on communication resources such as Periscope and Facebook Live allowing me to speak directly to residents, wherever they are, candidly and specifically. With regularly scheduled “Address from the Mayor” where people could hear exactly what was going on in their community directly from the “horse’s mouth”.
District 2 has two long-vacant or near-vacant commercial areas: Nobscot Plaza and the old Saxonville Lumber. What do you think should be done about these properties?
I would love to see the Nobscot Plaza become a mixed use property without adding to the already increasing traffic woes. Innovation is key. Working with Andy Rose, the owner of the property, to find a creative solution that works for all local residents would be the first step. Some ideas I have include: creating a traffic solution that incorporates strategically placed parking garages coupled with shuttle and tram systems. Adding a stop on this system to the Nobscot area would allow us to maximize Nobscot Plaza’s potential while not adding to traffic congestion.
I believe that Tony Kwan’s plan from 2008 was one of the best possible solutions for the Saxonvillie Lumber Yard. Though I have been given limited information, from what I understand the past town government and particular residents made it difficult for him to accomplish his vision. As Mayor, I would reopen that discussion and work diligently to find a solution along the lines of Tony’s proposal.
Town officials have rightly complained about vacant properties in town. However, the town itself has left the old McAuliffe branch library building sitting vacant for almost a year and a half. What should be done with this building?
Considering the Christa Mcauliffe Library has a special place in my heart, as I grew up in Saxonville, I desire to see it become something special. The young people in our soon to be city desperately desire culture and music spaces. With a little imagination I believe we could turn the space into a thriving music and arts venue equipped with studio space for both Framingham and the surrounding community talent alike. It would be a great place to appreciate what our most talented musicians have to offer. This would provide outlets for the arts as well as attract new activity in the area that would help the surrounding businesses.
What are your opinions regarding Friends of Saxonville’s proposals to redesign McGrath Square? Renovate the Athenaeum?
I 100% love the efforts of FOS and their desire to turn Saxonvile into a historic district. Personally, I would like to work hand in hand with them, adding my ideas to facilitate new businesses such as boutiques and cafes. I have developed this vision from experiences I have had traveling to beautiful historic districts all across the country. A vibrant historic district is a key mark to a thriving city.
When it comes to the Athenaeum I would trust FOS in any suggestions they would have for its use. If we could find a way to successfully use it as a nucleus for the surrounding historical sites, a sort of “gift shop meets educational center”, we would be on the right path in my opinion.
Do you have any thoughts to share about how to balance desire for more development with strains on transit infrastructure? The competing needs of vehicular traffic, bicyclists, and pedestrians?
INNOVATION! On our website there will be videos more easily explaining my plans for traffic innovation. Briefly though
Work hand in hand with bicyclists to best lay out bike paths all across our city allowing people who desire to commute via bicycle to any area of Framingham to have that ability.
Strategically place parking garages around the city that would work hand in hand with shuttle and bus systems. This would allow us to create space for cars away from congested roads and organize the flow of people going to and from our busiest areas.
How can Framingham best balance the need to serve less fortunate members of our community with the need for a viable tax base?
First I believe that if we can execute on our previous goals/visions we will already be doing our entire community a great service. Capitalizing on our vacant plazas and rundown buildings should, in theory, add a much needed revenue injection into our economy, in turn lessening the tax burden on all of our citizens. We need to couple that with community activism empowerment. For far too long the town has made it difficult for our activists and church communities to thrive. Empowering them allows the city to gain much needed assistance in the areas of humanitarian aid without using tax money.
If elected, how do you plan to help Framingham transition from a town to a city?
Thankfully for us we will have Bob Haplin, our current Town Manager, staying on board to help in this transition. At first, I will rely heavily on his professional managerial skills and experience to keep the city running as smooth as possible early on. The key to any transition is planning and executing. My first 100 days as Mayor will be spent assessing our most pressing issues and prioritizing a balance of “what needs to be done” with “what can be done”. Once we have created a well thought out strategy, I will work tirelessly to execute it with the help of our new staff of city employees. It is our responsibility as elected public servants to make this transition as pain free for residents as possible.
What’s the best way for voters to find out more about your candidacy? (Web site, Facebook page, etc.)
Follow our Social Media @jphorrigancampaign
Check out our website @ jphorrigan.com.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell the voters of District 2?
Give change a chance. This is our opportunity as a community to push the boundaries, challenge the limits and shape the future of Framingham into something that is not just “better’ but truly SPECIAL. As a son of Saxonville myself and former Nobscot resident, I know there are no better people than us to lead District 2 into a flourishing borough that every citizen of Framingham can be proud of. A vote for Horrigan, is a vote for genuine change.
Make sure to check out our website to see more in depth videos on all of our plans for the future of Framingham.