Position on the central waterfront: “My opinion since Day 1 has been no private buildings on the waterfront,” O’Brien said. “I am one of the few on the council who has lived here all of my life, and the waterfront belongs to the residents, and I believe they like to see the open waterfront. Let’s expand the open space. I would like to see an upgrade to the restrooms and information center and have additional area for showers for the boaters who come to Newburyport, as I feel they bring a lot of income to the city and we should provide them with this type of service.”
What can be done to improve the schools? “It has been frustrating at times that the council has no say on the school budget except to pass or cut. I advocated and voted for the new Bresnahan School, Nock-Molin upgrades and the Senior Center. The mayor and School Committee have started to put some foreign language back into the schools and hopefully we will be able to offer it at all levels in the future,” O’Brien said.
“I feel that the city has dedicated teachers at all levels for our students, but the leadership at the higher level with turnovers every few years has been a problem. Hopefully with Susan Viccaro on board as superintendent, she will advocate for technology, foreign language and bring Newburyport back to a high standing.”
What will be your special interest next term?: “I have advocated for the roundabout, and sound barriers for Laurel Road with the mayor and no heavy trucks on Turkey Hill Road,” O’Brien said. “I will push to improve two more areas in my ward that are a concern: Three Roads at High, Moseley and Ferry, and at Ferry and Spofford. I will also advocate for some type of walkway or path from Ferry Road to Pine Hill Road to the state park. I will continue to work to help areas with traffic concerns such as Turkey Hill Road. I will advocate for more, and improved, sidewalks.”