The Roundup sent questionnaires to every candidate for this year’s municipal election. In an effort to properly inform voters, their answers are unedited. The goal is to give the candidates the opportunity to offer their thoughts on issues directly to their constitutes. In return, it gives voters the opportunity to formulate their own decisions on what they have to say.
Next up is Dr. Josh Medeiros City Council Candidate for District One (D).
What are your most pressing issues?
My most pressing issues include downtown development, Memorial Boulevard Cultural Center/Theater, education, maintaining and improving all city services, programs and facilities-while keeping taxes down. That said, at the end of the day my priorities will be directed by the residents of District 1. This campaign has always been about wanting to represent the people and making sure their needs are being met. I promise that it will be their voices that guide all of my decision making throughout my time in office if elected on November 7th.
How do you feel about Bristol’s marketing efforts, what would you suggest?
I would say the marketing efforts in Bristol have improved but still have a long way to go. I want to see more marketing of city services and facilities. As an example, were you aware that the City of Bristol offers a low cost indoor swimming pool right next to Giamatti Little League? You may not have realized because there isn’t a facility sign out by the street. I spoke with a resident just yesterday that said they have lived in Bristol their whole life and never knew the facility existed. Once she stepped inside and received a tour from a staff member she fell in love with the facility. I want to see more of that- so residents can better utilize the services that their tax dollars are going to. I think the Bristol Development Authority and the Marketing Director have done a nice job trying to market the city. With that said anyone that understands marketing knows marketing needs to be the role and responsibility of every city official and every city employee not just a single marketing director. We all need to take a piece of the responsibility and be out there advocating for Bristol and marketing all the great things we offer here in the city. Finally, from a business perspective you don’t just spend money on marketing without having an objective or end goal in mind. Marketing is a tool that can help you reach an outcome. If elected, I plan to be a part of the team that develops a vision and sets tangible goals for the city. At that time, we will be able to identify how marketing efforts need to be defined and better focused to help achieve our goals.
How do your thoughts and ideas differ from your opponent(s)?
I am not going to speak for the other candidates but I will say that I bring a fresh perspective to the table and a proven track record of leadership, creativity and fiscal management. One piece of rhetoric that you hear thrown around is that all Democrats want to “tax and spend” frivolously. As someone who has successfully managed department budgets for over a decade, I pride myself on being fiscally responsible. I know how to be conservative and make well thought out decisions balanced with taking educated risks for long-term benefit.
What are your thoughts on Bristol Hospital purchasing a portion of the former mall site? Will it help revitalize downtown?
I believe this quote from the Washington State Main Street Program sums it up best, “Downtown is a reflection of how your community sees itself—a critical factor in business retention and recruitment efforts. When industry begins looking at your community as a possible location, they examine many aspects including the quality of life. Included in quality of life is interest in downtown — is it alive and viable, or does it represent local disinterest and failure?” With that in mind, I believe downtown development has been slow going. The Bristol Hospital project should hopefully be a start to igniting some activity downtown activity but it’s only a small piece in what needs to be a comprehensive downtown revitalization program. Research shows culture and arts are a significant catalyst in any revitalization program which is why the Memorial Boulevard Center and Theater should be a large component of this discussion. I want the residents to know I am fully committed to working with all project stakeholders to move downtown initiatives forward and with greater urgency than we’ve seen with the current leadership.
What is your position on moving City Hall?
At this time we don’t have enough information for me to take a position on this. I base my decisions on actual research and data. I won’t make any decisions until I’ve reviewed all of the options, evaluated the costs and weighed the pros and cons. That said I will support whatever ends up being the most cost-effective solution for the taxpayers while providing a safe and livable working space for city employees.
Will you support a tax increase if it’s the last resort?
My short answer to this complex question is no. I would not be in favor of supporting tax increase at this time. That being said, I think it’s really easy to just say you are going to hold the line on taxes and position yourself as a “no” or “budget hatchet man” type of person. It’s easy to take that position. What is not easy is engaging in critical thinking and out-of-the-box thinking needed to tackle fiscal issues. I would rather hear more about how the council is going to come together and be creative, innovative and collaborative in order to address the current and future challenges facing our city. I want residents to know my number one priority is to make sure government isn’t wasting your money.
What is your stance on crime in Bristol?
I believe there are many challenges facing the City of Bristol including drug dealing, an opioid crisis, park vandalism, and automobile theft just to name a few. As a City Councilor I want to make sure our police are supported and have the resources to effectively do their jobs. I would also like to see increased police presence at the parks. For example, I don’t like to hear from neighbors who say they won’t bring their children to Rockwell Park because they feel unsafe. Everyone deserves a park!
Is social media helping or hurting Bristol at the moment?
Positive outcomes I’ve seen with social media are the city departments using it as a way to market services and communicate with residents. Whether it’s updates on paving projects, meeting announcements or upcoming special events it’s a great way to get the word out. Government needs to be transparent and accessible to all members of the community and social media is an outlet to reach a broader audience. On the negative side people can use social media as a platform to spread misinformation and engage in disrespectful and personal attacks. I hope to see Bristol move away from the latter and start displaying a greater sense of community and respect for all.
I want to thank Bristol Roundup for providing another platform for candidates to get their messages out to the residents of Bristol. I encourage anyone within the community to reach out to me at Josh4Council@gmail.com or by cell at 860-912-6331. I will be happy to make myself available to meet with constituents in District 1. At this time I ask for your support and vote on November 7th. District 1 can cast their ballots at Edgewood School, Northeast Middle School, and Mountain View School.