Rookie officials join veterans on Board of Aldermen

Nov 9, 2017 by

KATIE LIPPER-GARABEDIAN

MANISHA GADIA BEWTRA

Published in the November 10, 2017 edition

MELROSE — Incumbent aldermen-at-large Monica C. Medeiros and Michael P. Zwirko were voted back into office Tuesday during the city’s 2017 municipal election.

Joining them are first-time candidates Kate Lipper-Garabedian and Manisha Gadia Bewtra.

Zwirko received the most votes in the race for four open at-large alderman seats. His 3,504 vote total was followed by Lipper-Garabedian’s 3,320.

On Wednesday, Lipper-Garabedian said, “I am honored and humbled to have earned the confidence of Melrose voters and am thrilled to serve them as one of the aldermen-at-large. I look forward to working with my colleagues to support our small business community, sharpen the board’s oversight of the city budget, enhance road safety and accessibility, strengthen our schools, and more.”

Zwirko said, “Tuesday night was a huge win for Melrose. I was shocked when I learned that I placed first overall. It was something that I never could have believed was even attainable. Four years ago, I lost my first entry into politics by 50 votes. Two years ago I finished 4th. Tuesday, to me, represented the old adage that ‘hard work pays off.’ It reinforced all that I have worked for and what I will continue to work towards: A better place to live and raise a family. A government that is responsive and creative. A community that is welcoming and accepting. A community that takes on tough challenges in constructive ways; seeking pragmatic solutions to them.

“Before the new term begins, the Board of Aldermen will consider two orders that I have or will be filing. One is to ban the public use and consumption of marijuana and the other is a plastic bag ban. I also intend to file an order in the new term that will make a portion of our water and sewer bills tax deductible. We still have concerns with water and sewer bills that we will need to addressed; along with its infrastructure. We also have to commit our focus on the need for new public safety facilities as well as our library.

“I never entered politics to make a career out of it. I entered politics because I wanted it to be different and I felt that by running for office myself I could take the approach that I longed to see. None of this was done alone. I had the wonderful support of so many Melrosians who gave their time, ideas, and their relationships to help me over the years. I could not have done it without all of their support.

“I also owe a lot to the members of the Board of Aldermen that I have served with. From them, I have learned so much about how to look at the administration of our city. Personally, I will miss working with President Donald Conn. He is a great man who deeply cares about Melrose and has served with distinction for many years. He is someone who I consider a mentor and a friend. The same goes to Mary Beth McAteer-Margolis. She and I have worked on a lot of issues together and she is very passionate about Melrose. She, too, has dedicated so much to Melrose and served tirelessly. While both will no longer be on the Board, they will be on my speed dial when I need their sage advice.

“The Board of Aldermen will also have two new — and highly capable — members in Manisha Bewtra and Kate Lipper-Garabedian. They will bring new energy and perspectives to Melrose both of which we need. Both have dedicated their service to this city before being elected and they are ready to hit the ground running and assist with moving our city forward. I look forward to working with them over the next two years.

“Thirty years ago, Melrose was changing. Thirty years from now, Melrose will be changing. The point I am trying to make is that the only constant thing in life is change and that if Melrose doesn’t change with it; we will be left behind. We need to keep moving Melrose forward, but do it in a way that allows us to maintain the aspects of this city that we love, all while improving it for future generations. We all have a responsibility to take care of our own, our neighbors and our community. I look forward to this responsibility over the next two years and I want to work with you towards the ideals of One Melrose, One Team,” Zwirko’s post-election email concluded.

Monica Medeiros, the third place vote-getter in the race, said, “I am thrilled and honored that the voters have given me the opportunity to serve another term on the Board of Aldermen. The School Committee race really drove the turnout in this race, and shows how much our city cares about the future of our school system and the educational opportunities we are presenting for our children.

“I am looking forward to working with our new Aldermen and School Committee members, and am hopeful these changes to the boards will allow for a new cross-pollination of ideas to improve our city and our schools.

“I also want to see us stay focused on doing what we can to help Melrose maintain its affordability so we can continue to thrive,” Medeiros explained.

Manisha Gadia Bewtra explained the day after her victory, “I am thrilled that my campaign for alderman-at-large resonated with Melrose voters. This campaign engaged many people who had never previously been engaged in a municipal election.

“I am grateful to my volunteers, without whom I could not have done this. I am grateful to Alderman Donald Conn and Alderman Mary Beth McAteer-Margolis for their many years of service, and know I will have big shoes to fill with their respective departures from the board.

“I am excited to work with my new colleagues on the Board of Aldermen, as well as the School Committee and others at City Hall.

“Congratulations to all who pulled nomination papers, regardless of last night’s outcome – I know you all share my commitment to this city. Thank you to my husband Ravi and my son Viraj, who were always by my side with love and support as I lived and breathed this campaign for the past six months. Thank you, Melrose. I am eager to serve you, listen to your ideas, and to roll up my sleeves and get to work.

 

“Over the next two years, I will work on policies that will help to maintain our strong economic position while also retaining affordability and income diversity. I am eager to look for ways to maintain our historic Victorian character while also finding ways to support thoughtful housing and commercial development. I want to work collaboratively with the community to tackle a variety of issues such as aging infrastructure, increased school enrollment, and traffic on our streets. I look forward to using my platform as an Alderman to reinforce our city motto of ‘One Community, Open to All’ by creating more opportunities for residents to engage with their elected leadership. I want to maintain open communication with the public, and make all Melrosians feel like they have a voice at City Hall,” Gadia Bewtra concluded.

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