By: Santiago Reyes Cruz, Jr. – Dec. 2021
What’s next for Lawrence?
Election season is finally over. Former City Councilor Brian DePena has officially been sworn in as the new Mayor of Lawrence and will serve until 2026. DePena is a local Dominican businessman who has a clear strategy as to how he’ll improve the city.
What does the Mayor’s plan look like?
The plan is simple and executable because DePena really doesn’t care about politics, who is connected to whom, or who has a bad reputation. He is focused only on solving the problems facing our city. The Mayor’s strategy plan is aimed at making Lawrence a healthier & safer place for all kids to be raised in. He will fight hard to educate & save kids from being recruited by negative influences such as activist teachers, gangs, drugs, and racist community activists.
The following are four points which will be used to combat such negative influences:
#1 The Mayor plans to work with parents to enroll kids in after school programs such as Lawrence C.A.R.E.S. The acronym C.A.R.E.S stands for Citizens Actively Restoring Essential Surroundings. Because the Lawrence Schools are doing such a terrible job educating our children, it’s clear that more needs to be done outside of the regular school day to prepare our children for success. Mayor DePena gets that and is ready to implement “outside the box” solutions.
#2 Mayor DePena has tasked Valley Patriot publisher Tom Duggan to work on homeless issues as head of an ad-hoc homelessness committee. There is no doubt that homelessness and addiction have ravaged the city over the last 5 years. Previous mayors ignored the problem, making it far worse for all of us. With this one move alone, Mayor DePena has shown that he cares more about getting things done and solving problems than appeasing the political insiders.
#3 The Mayor is working with outside education institutions to orientate people on local environmentalism and housing (see page 4). Reducing the amount of litter and vacant properties which have scarred the city is a top priority. DePena is already working with his team to clean up the city and working with Harvard to address the property issues. Neighborhood and park clean ups are great for one day, but to truly clean up the city it is going to take the full effort of DPW, Inspectional Services, and the general public.
# 4 The Mayor plans on strengthening relationships with surrounding cities to address common areas of concern. There is no reason why Lawrence has to be burdened with providing all of the methadone clinics and social services needed by residents of the rest of the Merrimack Valley.
Many of Lawrence’s problem come from Methuen, Andover, and other cities. Mayor DePena understands there needs to be a regional approach to issues like prostitution, homelessness, gang violence, and drug distribution – forcing other communities to work with us on solving these problems and taking responsibility for their own citizens who end up in Lawrence looking for help.
There are some politicians who promise you the world to get elected and then do nothing to solve any real problems once they get in.
Mayor DePena only promised one thing, to put the people first. So far, however, he has already shown he is doing so much more.
All this will surely help beautify the City of Lawrence MA.
I am excited to see the city grow! ◊