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Sandlin announces run for Agawam's mayor

Date: 4/26/2011

April 27, 2011

By Katelyn Gendron

Assistant Managing Editor

AGAWAM — Rosemary Sandlin believes her time as a member of the State Legislature and on the Agawam School Committee will be her ticket to the mayor's office.

Sandlin announced her bid for the seat currently occupied by Richard Cohen in an e-mail to the media and supporters on April 19. She served two terms as state representative of the 3rd Hampden District before losing her seat to Nicholas Boldyga in November and also clocked more than two decades as a member of the School Committee.

"I think I can bring experience and a fresh eye to municipal government," Sandlin said.

When asked about her plans for the city should she be elected, Sandlin replied, "I would like to look at all city departments as it pertains to their functionality, not personality ... We have to look at departments to see where there is redundancy. This is a budget [currently being proposed for fiscal year 2012] that the next mayor, whoever it is in the next term, would not want to live with."

Several of the changes within the proposed budget include user fees for athletics and clubs as well as school staffing reductions.

"I was never a supporter of user fees because it puts a huge impact on young people who can't afford them," Sandlin said. "I want to look at areas where we can get some cost savings."

She proposed reducing school busing costs to save money and increasing student parking fees at the high school to raise revenue.

Sandlin believes there shouldn't be fees for full-day kindergarten either. "Zero to 3 and 3 to 5 are critical years in a child's development," she added.

Sandlin said she'd also like to see additional programming for the city's youngsters. "Youth needs education beyond the classroom. Education doesn't stop at the classroom door. We need something more than just after school activities or athletics," she added.

When asked if she'd consider a community center as an alternative, Sandlin replied, "A community center would have to be funded by the town and that would be fiscally irresponsible to start new programs when we're struggling to pay for current programs."

Sandlin said other areas crucial to Agawam's future include economic development, marketing campaigns publicizing the city's allure, infrastructure repairs and transparency in government.

"My key advisors will be the citizens of Agawam," she said. "The mayor, the City Council and the School Committee have to work together as a unit. They have to talk to each other and build a consensus because we're all working toward the same thing."

Nomination papers for mayor and other city officials will be made available by the Clerk's Office on May 2.

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