Montibello has a child in the public schools and works at the Homeless Empowerment Project part-time. “I also have my own marketing consultancy business and I’ve also held jobs in home health care and elder living and care,” she told The Valley Patriot.
We asked Montibello why she is running for the open seat.
“When I saw the people who were running, it’s the same people who always run. It’s all the men. There’s a lot of women in the north shore and Merrimack Valley who are in office making a big difference like; Diana Dizoglio, Linda Dean Campbell, and Katy Ives. I actually saw them winning over the last few years and I thought, there may be a space there for me too. Maybe what Haverhill needs is a woman to represent us.”
“I’ve always wanted to run for public office since I was in high school. I come from a politically motivated family. My grandfather ran for state rep. in his youth. It’s always stuck in my mind as something I wanted to do. I feel like I spent my whole life volunteering, helping vulnerable populations. I spent my whole life getting ready for running.”
Montibello says that she was “pretty shocked” Representative Dempsey was leaving his position.
“Truthfully, I think Brian Dempsey did a great job for Haverhill. He brought a lot of funds to the city. He was in such a great position. It’s like Tom Brady retiring in his hay-day. Brian retired at his high [point] and people are always a little saddened when someone’s in such a great spot doing a great job, and is appreciated for the good work he does – and then poof, he’s gone. We need someone who can really stand out like he did and I think that’s me.”
Montibello says she believes her background in business development and sales, is something she’s really committed to.
CRIME AND PUBLIC SAFETY
“I’m really concerned about the crime in Haverhill. Child abuse, issue of bullying, violence, all of that. I also think that making sure we have enough police officers is priority one. I’m pretty sure we are under-manned with police in a city the size of Haverhill. We are a community with access to highways and waterways. It’s not a bad idea to have more police because we have so much access in and out of the city.”
“It’s a very complicated topic. I have two personal perspectives about it [the immigration issue].
“My mom is from Macau China and she went through the process. For her it was very challenging. She had to get ESL [English as a second language] and they didn’t have translators to help her like we have today. She did it on her own. And she did it.
On the other hand, I’ve worked in the food industry and we had a lot of people in the process of getting green cards. Because they didn’t have the green cards, we had to let a whole group of them go based on legislation coming out. I knew a lot of these people and cared about them. They did great jobs. By talking to them about what they were going through, I learned about several challenges to the immigration system.”
Montibello says that the system is far too expensive and takes too long, about 4-7 years to finish. She also highlighted the expense and red tape it takes for people to become legal citizens adding that she believes we should make it easier for people to come here legally, which would cut down on people coming here illegally.
EDITORS NOTE: Sanctuary cities are those cities that protect violent rapists, gang members and other felons from being deported if they are found to be in the country illegally.
“The law should be followed. Period. People need to get on the path to legal citizenship. So, no I don’t believe in sanctuary cities and no, Haverhill shouldn’t be a sanctuary city. Given what I’ve seen in the area of child abuse, we already have trouble convicting sex offenders and keeping them out of our neighborhoods and sanctuary cities create additional complications.”
“I know not all illegals are bad – but when you look at track records and patterns of crimes and other things, you want to limit your risks. My mom did it [came here legally] and had a really hard time and it was culture shock. She was pregnant at the time, but she just got through it and she followed the law.”
ON ANDY VARGAS WARNING VIOLENT FELONS OF POLICE RAIDS
We asked Montibello what she thought of one of her opponents, Andy Vargas, warning violent felons on Facebook that federal police were conducting raids in Haverhill. Vargas denies that’s what he was doing when he made his post on Facebook, – and though he deleted it – The Valley Patriot took a screen capture of the posting before he had the chance to take it down.
“I have such great respect for public servants in general, but especially police and firefighter. My grandfather and uncle were firefighters. So, I understand their sacrifices. I think when someone puts the police at risk, when all they are doing is their jobs, I don’t think it’s right. There isn’t any denying what he did. It it’s on record. He posted it publicly. I think we’ve all seen the proof and it’s disingenuous to deny it.”
“I remember someone else did the same thing recently, a congressman I think. But, when it happened in my community I was really saddened about that.”
Montibello added that someone could have been killed as the result of Vargas’ public warning that violent criminals were really likely to see. She added that she believes it was a sign of his youth and idealism.
“I think we need to look at the real world here. These officers have families to go home to and warning the public of police raids puts them in danger. I believe elected officials have an obligation to be responsible, and sending out warnings that sex offenders and other felons will see that the police are coming is reckless and irresponsible.”
“I’m really concerned about educators teaching to the test [MCAS]. I don’t think it serves our children. When I look at what would make education better and what would work I think about my son. I think about what I want him to walk pout of 8th grade with, or high school.”
“I want him to understand how our government works, why the government is in place, and the history of how we got here. I want him to have real life skills. I want him to be taught how to balance a checkbook, cooking, saving, understanding the basics of life, etc.”
“They also need to know about body safety. I think sex-ed should be kept at home. But we need to be teaching personal safety and body safety, how to be respectful to people. It could really make a difference to some children.”
“My other concern about education in Haverhill was the closing of St. Joseph’s School and the change of status for Silver Hill Elementary. Parents have far fewer choices for their children now. It’s important for parents to have choices, so that every child learns the same or at least has the same opportunities.”
“I’m really concerned about housing insecurity. 42% of people live paycheck to paycheck. We need to find a way to empower people to make more money and keep more of their own hard-earned dollars. This affects people who might be on the fringe of losing their homes or even being homeless or facing hard choices like: pay the electric bill or buying their kids a birthday gift.”
“I just think the cost of housing has gone up disproportionately to people’s salary. I don’t have all the solutions but, I really want to make that a primary focus.”
“You know, other cities have ended veteran homelessness. Lowell and Lynn have done it and it’s completely possible to end veterans homelessness in Haverhill with the right resources. That will absolutely be one of my top priorities as a rep. We have resources like Veterans Northeast Outreach (VNOC) who help homeless veterans get back on their feet in real common sense ways. There are other organizations too, that we need to be working with like the DAV, the VFW, and there’s a remote VA hospital located downtown where my dad goes. We need to make sure they are funded, and that we get them every resource they need.”
Montibello says her father is a former marine and served in the Vietnam war.
“I think we need a small business incubator in Haverhill.”
“I would have a small business incubator where people can donate their time and office hours to help other businesses start-up. We need to make it accessible to small business owners by having nighttime hours and weekend sessions. People need to look at what they are passionate about and do it in a smart way. But sometimes they need help. I know the chamber has networking events but I think we should have a small businesses networking group outside of that, and focus on what works and doesn’t work. Take the best idea of the BNI groups, and the chambers, and the non-credit classes, and use that structure to support people.”
BEING A REP.
“I think people in a role like this need to know who their boss is. It’s the citizens of Haverhill. As such, I plan to do coffee talks , use technology like Skype to survey to the voters and citizens to see what’s important to them and carry that to the legislature. If you look at the actions of the legislature in the recent past, one of the things I had issue with was them voting for pay raises for themselves. Almost nobody is private industry gets a pay raises that big. It doesn’t seem right at a time where the socioeconomic condition of the citizens we represent are struggling. It just didn’t feel right.”
“The other thing that bothered me was the cancelling of the tax free weekend. It’s the one opportunity for all businesses in Massachusetts to thrive and make a little more money to pay their bills. It was a slap in the face to the small businesses and it showed the disconnect between the legislature and and the voters.”
“Having worked with families stuck inside the DCF system, I’ve seen first-hand the breakdowns of that system. For instance, there was on child with thirteen 51A’s and 51B’s [reports of child and sexual abuse] from the police, psychologists, etc, and he had everyone that is suppose to protect kids bt becaue of the recommendation of DCF he was put back in the hands of the person molesting him.
“DCF suggested to the mom that she put the child in foster care to protect him, which actually put the child in the foster system. In Massachusetts, if the child enters the foster care system they look at the family for first placement. But, because of the system they rejected the mother’s recommendation and put the child in the hands of the molester. This mother was so emotional, she was upset first that her child was being abused, but moreover the system completely failed. I want to go back to reminding people that there were 13 reports of abuse. So, it’s these types of situations that you see in various ways over and over again at DCF that keep me up at night and wanting to fix the system. What we are doing right now is completely insufficient and it’s completely unacceptable.
“Being a survivor of abuse myself this is something really important to me.”