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Local News

September 14, 2013

3 vying for open Ward 2 council seat

NEWBURYPORT — Three candidates are running in Tuesday’s preliminary election for Ward 2, and the two top votegetters will advance to the Nov. 5 election.

The Ward 2 council position is open, as incumbent Greg Earls is running for mayor. The ward is located in Newburyport’s downtown, its downtown waterfront and part of its South End, stretching from the Merrimack River to the Newbury town line. State Street runs through the heart of it.

Though the City Council holds no power whatsoever over the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority and its controversial plans for the waterfront, each of the three candidates said the topic is one of the most talked-about subjects in the ward and each had an opinion on what the NRA should do with its land.

As part of the The Daily News election coverage, we asked candidates to explain why they are running, what they think the biggest issue in the city is and what they would do to solve it.

Christopher Welch

57, 33 Federal St.

Wife, Barbara, three sons

Education: McGill University, McGill Law School

Vocation: lawyer.

Why are you running?

“I served four terms as Ward 2 Councilor when my kids were very young. I left when the time commitment made it impossible to fulfill my two primary responsibilities: being a dad and making a living.

“Now I have the time as well as the interest. Over the last year, I have become increasingly concerned with the reemergence of issues (particularly development of the central waterfront) in a way that was startlingly similar to what we faced when I first became involved in civic issues in 1983. That utter lack of progress spurred me to get involved again and try to help reach a resolution.

“The most important to Ward 2 residents right now is development of the central waterfront. I have knocked on almost every door in Ward 2 and it’s hard to get people to talk about anything else. The arguments about the public benefits of open space or the privatization of public property are important. It is telling that of all the people I spoke to knocking on doors, not one expressed support for the NRA plan or anything approaching its density or inclusion of private residences. People need to know that there are significant differences among the Ward 2 candidates on this issue.”

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