Editor's note: Robert Cronin is a four-term city councilor and has been chair of Public Safety and a member of the Budget and Finance Committee for his tenure. Prior public service includes the Harbor Commission and the Jeannie Geiger Crisis Center board of directors. Bob and his wife, Sue, have lived in Newburyport nearly 30 years. He served a 33-year career in law enforcement in the town of Andover that culminated in supervising the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office detective division. He is director of security for the CAS Foundation and owns a local company specializing in boat accident investigations.
Statement from Robert Cronin
My name is Bob Cronin, and I am thrilled to be running for mayor of Newburyport. My wife, Sue, and I are nearly 30-year residents of the city with family living nearby, including a granddaughter attending the Bres. I spent my career in law enforcement before retiring honorably. I’m a four-term city councilor, and I am ready to take the next step. I have the experience and the knowledge to lead us forward.
If I were asked to summarize my priorities, “Residents first” comes to mind instantly. We need to return to our neighborhoods and focus on core services:
Public schools are our foundation. I’d like to take our schools from good to great. We have gotten as far as we can with state funding and we need innovative ways to increase funding locally. I’d like to energize our school councils and the parents who serve on them, to boost transparency and communication, and to speed up execution of our strategic plan. We have a strong, elected School Committee, and an exciting opportunity ahead when we hire a new superintendent.
Infill development in our neighborhoods remains a nagging concern. We can ensure stable, fair development by following through, now. The leadership on this should come from the mayor’s office to ensure a comprehensive approach. I will work collaboratively to finish the zoning rewrite initiated by the City Council, support our boards and commissions in their work by providing legal and technical resources where needed, and apply lessons from other communities. Keeping Newburyport affordable requires us to be proactive, not just reactive, in these ways.
Economic development is crucial for our future. We have enormous opportunity in our business park to attract new businesses and to encourage existing ones to expand. We’ve seen other communities succeed at this. Development, where it belongs, will create job opportunities and reduce our reliance on residential property taxes.
Without pedestrian and traffic safety, we are not truly a “walkable city.” As a retired law enforcement professional, I have substantial experience in traffic management, and am ready to accomplish this task. We can improve safety and walkability through many strategies. Some we can do immediately such as enhancing enforcement, installing additional signalized crosswalks, and frequently repainting existing crosswalks. Longer-term strategies need to include accelerated road and sidewalk repair and intensive traffic-calming measures.
Transparency, communication and process are not extras but central to success. Building consensus means ensuring that all residents are heard and respected. There are immediate steps to take here, as well. We can post much more documentation on our city website, use social media better for real-time communication, and encourage, not just accept, more resident feedback in public forums.
This is an exciting time for Newburyport and there are many opportunities ahead. Together, we can chart a new course and move forward. I pledge to work collaboratively, to always listen, and to be transparent. I humbly ask for your support and for your vote on Nov. 7 and thank you for your consideration.