AGAWAM – Corinne Wingard has “deep roots” in Agawam, but she said that is not the only reason why she wants a seat on the City Council. Aside from a firm understanding of Agawam’s past, she said she has a clear vision for its future.
“We all say how long we’ve lived here and how we have these deep roots, which I do, but I also have fresh ideas,” Wingard told Reminder Publications. “I also think the people who moved in yesterday, their voice is just as important that they chose to come to our town. That to me is important.”
Wingard, a retired teacher, has dedicated years to volunteering for Agawam, including currently serving as the vice chair of the Agawam Housing Committee, commissioner of the Agawam Housing Authority and as a member of the Community Preservation Act Committee. She also helped the Planning Department to change the zoning that allowed the Walnut Street Extension project move forward.
Watching her mother work for years as the town nurse, Wingard learned at a young age the value and importance of public service, she said. Wingard previously ran for a City Council seat in 2013, but despite the loss, her friends were not surprised she is trying again.
“I’m running to give the people a stronger voice in town government, and that’s a huge priority for me. I think people are concerned about government. I think they’re concerned about the issues, but very few people have the time to watch closely what’s going on with town government,” Wingard said. “We have very full lives, and that’s one way I think I’m different from the other candidates. To be available to people and listen to people, but I would be proactive in reaching out to people when there’s important issues in a variety of ways.”
In order to accommodate the busy lives of her constituents, Wingard said she would hold regular informal meetings at different times for residents to meet and ask questions of her and other councilors. Being proactive and engaging voters, she said, are very important for a functioning town.
In addition to reaching out to residents to make sure they are informed, Wingard wants to create a stronger, more open relationship between the mayor’s office and City Council.
“They are meant to be checks and balances on each other, I understand that, but they also share common goals,” she said. “I think the more they can collaborate for the good of the town, the faster we’ll move forward. That to me is very important. That’s something I would want to make one of my main focuses.”
Wingard said she also wants to keep property taxes low while still fully funding the town’s needs. To do this, she said it is important to bring new businesses into town and to look for efficiencies through a performance audit.
“It’s not to say that anyone is doing anything incorrect,” she said. “It’s just looking together at ways to save more money. I think that would be a huge way to help the town potentially to save money.”
Agawam has challenges, she said, including a town hall that “is not very handicap accessible,” but Wingard said the heart of the town is worth preserving.
“I’d like Agawam to retain its character and to retain as much farmland and open space as possible … I’d like to retain its small town character,” she said. “I think it’s a town with a huge heart. It really is. Any time a resident faces tragedy, the town just comes forward.”
By openly communication with constituents and those within town hall, Wingard said she can bring a new mindset to the council.
“I will bring fresh ideas to the council and that I will actively engage residents in what’s going on in town government by reaching out when there are issues that are important for people to be aware of and by really always wanting to listen to people’s concerns.”
For more information about Wingard, visit www.democracy.com/CorinneWingard/default.aspx.