Town Council At-Large Profile: John Gannon

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Background

I’ve been a municipal attorney for 25 years, advising over 100 cities and towns of Massachusetts every day on the issues that are currently facing Watertown. I’ve been a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals in Watertown for 10 years, I’ve been former Acting Town Attorney, working as Watertown’s lawyer. But I think more importantly, I’m a native of Watertown, a product of the Browne School, West Junior High, and Watertown High School; my upbringing in Watertown is an important part of who I am. I went on to Brown University and then to Suffolk University Law School, where I became lawyer to bring innovative approaches to cities and towns. After starting a family here, I became a homeowner, taxpayer and ratepayer. Like others who chose to come to Watertown, I chose to stay here. Watertown is a wonderful place in so many ways, and I’m here to help give back some of what this community has given to me.

Websites: gannonforwatertown.com andwww.facebook.com/FriendsofGannonforWatertown

Candidate Statement

There are four major issues facing us in Watertown, and I’m running so I can bring to the Town Council the experience I already have dealing with these issues in other communities.

— Sensible Development. We know Watertown is an attractive place to build. We need to rethink how we plan traffic around large projects, how we protect open space, and how we build new neighborhoods that blend in with our already diverse community. As a municipal land use attorney, I have worked with innovative design across Massachusetts, including serving as lead counsel in a public-private partnership that created Assembly Row in Somerville, a project that involved active neighborhood involvement in planning, construction of adaptive infrastructure prior to development and creation of innovative alternative transportation solutions, such as the building of an Orange Line MBTA station.

— Innovative Schools. We need well-funded schools that prepare our children for our future and make them proud of their learning environments. I support the rebuilding and construction of our elementary schools, and I have a plan to allow Watertown to build a first-class new Watertown High School, without adding to the tax burden of Watertown’s resident taxpayers. As a municipal lawyer, I have worked on building dozens of top-notch municipal schools and buildings, from initial design to the ribbon cutting.

— Climate Awareness. We need to make Watertown resilient in the face of climate change. I support maximizing energy efficiency, net-zero carbon public buildings and vehicles where technology allows, creating open spaces and protecting wetlands.

— Housing that keeps our community strong. Our focus should be on creating more middle-income and affordable housing alternatives to ensure that Watertown remains the diverse, welcoming community that it has prided itself on for over 100 years.

I believe this all starts with better communication from our town — with everything from high tech websites to innovative low-tech solutions — so we can make sure that all Watertown residents have the right, as well as the ability, to be involved in creating our future.I have experience in opening up local government. When I was the City Solicitor for the City of Somerville, my work in creating transparency and openness in local government earned the City its first E-Government Award, with distinction, from Common Cause of Massachusetts. I will push for a Watertown that receives at least that distinction.

I pledge to you as your Town Councilor At-Large that I will be accessible and open, that I will do my homework and that I will provide you with resourceful, fierce and honorable constituent service. I would be honored to have one of your four votes for Town Councilor At-Large. Let’s work together to keep Watertown Strong.

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