|By Paula Canning|
CHICOPEE Citing unfinished business as one of the major contributors to his decision, Mayor Richard Goyette officially kicked-off his re-election campaign at a reception at the Munich House last Friday.
"I want to see the city continue to move in a positive direction," Goyette said. "There are a lot of projects that we've begun that I would like to see through."
According to Goyette, a former sales manager at the Sheraton in Springfield, "two years isn't a lot of time" to accomplish everything one hopes to accomplish while serving as mayor.
"A lot of your first year is spent picking up where your predecessor left off, so you don't always have time to finish your own initiatives," he said.
Moreover, Goyette said he wants to stay in the position as the city's leader because, "it is a job that I absolutely love."
"I'm looking forward to another two years of making a positive difference in my community," he said.
Reflecting back on the past two years of his administration, Goyette cited community development, reconstruction at the Aldenville Commons, as well as the improved appearance of Chicopee Falls as some of the major areas of accomplishment.
He referred to the recently launched construction of the new Chicopee Comprehensive High School as one of the highlights of his administration.
"It's one of the largest construction projects in the city's history and is something that is going to make a real, positive difference in the lives of the children in our community," he said.
He added that, whether a high school student in the city is attending Chicopee High School or Chicopee Comp, "students in Chicopee are given the opportunity to attend a brand new, state-of-the-art facility, that can offer them the latest technology."
"Few students in the surrounding communities have that same opportunity," he said.
He added that he also "made a solid commitment to our children's education," by dedicating over $1.7 million for the second year in a row above the state required benchmark for education.
"The last two years are the first time since the Education Reform Act of 1993 that the city has contributed more than the state requirement," he said.
Goyette also cited the re-development of Memorial Drive, and the significant amount of funding that has gone towards infrastructure improvements.
"For the second year in a row, we have [seen] over $2 million in city funded road and sidewalk construction, as well as over $11 million in state funded projects, including the Deady Bridge reconstruction and the Grattan Street reconstruction," he said.
Goyette also spoke on the significant technological improvements that the city has seen over the past two years, and note the efforts his administration had made towards keeping the Westover Air Reserve Base open.
"My administration has successfully lobbied, along with our state and federal delegation, to preserve Westover Air Reserve Base as an economic engine for not only our community, but for all of western Massachusetts," he said.
He said that, while moving forward with all of these accomplishments, his administration has also been successful in maintaining the city's finances.
"While we have accomplished many things, we've been able to do these things while maintaining the city's financial stability with nearly $10 million in cash reserves and returning to our residents $500,000 in tax relief last year and $750,000 in tax relief this year," he said, adding that these figures represented one of the largest amounts of tax relief given in the city's history.
And looking towards the future, Goyette said "the drawing board is filled" with a variety of projects.
One of these such projects is the renovation and expansion of the city's senior center.
"There are currently a number of initiatives that I would really like to follow through on and see brought to fruition," he said.
Goyette said his interest in politics was spawned in 1995 when he became "pretty outspoken" about an ongoing issue in his neighborhood, which led him to run for Ward 8 Alderman.
After losing a close election to Alderman-at-Large Jean J. Croteau Jr., Goyette went on to secure the position two years later, which he held for four years before serving for two years as the president of the Board of Alderman.
After former Mayor Richard Kos announced he wasn't going to run for re-election, Goyette said that he decided it was time "to step up to the plate and continue the city moving in a positive direction."
"I am proud of our city's accomplishments and pledge that I will continue to dedicate my time and energy to improving the quality of life for the citizens of Chicopee," he said. "Together will keep Chicopee moving forward."