Melrose Mayoral Forum: What We Learned About Candidates


MELROSE, MA — The city's four Democratic candidates for mayor made their opening pitch to voters during a forum Wednesday night hosted by the Democratic City Committee. Aldermen-at-large Manisha Bewtra and Mike Zwirko, Director of Community Services and City Operations Jackie Lavender Bird and State Rep. Paul Brodeur sat in front of some 100 attendees at the Melrose Unitarian Universalist Church, answering a dozen questions about the present and future of Melrose.

The forum was the first and only scheduled opportunity for mayoral candidates to set themselves apart in such a manner through the preliminary election Sept. 17. The first open seat mayoral election for Melrose in 18 years will Nov. 5.

The four candidates who attended engaged in some friendly banter in an overall light atmosphere, but got serious when it came time for questions. The questions, which came from committee members and the public, ranged from addressing traffic (Brodeur had to take off his coat before tackling that one.) to what needs fixing at City Hall ("I won't listen!" Mayor Gail Infurna shouted to the candidates from the audience.) to affordable housing, overcrowded schools, crumbling public safety infrastructure, and more.

How could City Hall be more transparent?

Brodeur said the city needs to be progressive about the budget being accessible and outward-facing to the public.

How would you address traffic issues and make streets safer?

Brodeur said Melrose needs to bring data and expertise to the specifics of the issue, and touted his relationships with state organizations such as the DCR which could help.