profiles of Ward Five Council candidates

August 20, 2013
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With contested races in nearly every local elected office on the ballot from mayor to School Committee, there are plenty of bumper stickers, yard signs and campaign flyers making their way around the city this fall.

Campaign literature can only do so much to help a voter decide who they want to support and if you don’t personally know a candidate or get a chance to meet them during the campaign season, you may even have less to go on.

There is only one race this year that will result in a candidate going home during the September 17 primary and that is the Ward 5 Council race. Ward 5 is also the only contested race where the incumbent is not running for re-election, so this week we have three candidate capsules of newcomers, who are all hoping to be the new Ward 5 Councilor come November.

Ward Five Councilor Candidate

Dianna Chakoutis

Lynn1Like her two opponents in the Ward 5 Council race, Dianna Chakoutis has never run for or served in elective office. However, that doesn’t mean that she hasn’t wanted to.

“I decided to run because I always had an interest in running when my children were young, but I didn’t want to take time away from them. They’re older now, so I decided it was time and I have a genuine love for our city and for our Ward.”

Chakoutis says that she has several goals she would like to accomplish in running for City Council, but for the most part they all have the same basic motivation, she wants to see the city do more to help children.

“I’d like to make our playgrounds safer for our children, I want to find a way to address the rodent problem we have in the city and I want to see to the interests of our children. They are the future of our city and I want to see our community do more to help them.”

Still Chakoutis says a first term would be successful in her mind, if she is able to be a full-time working councilor who can help resolve the problems and complaints of her constituents.

“I’d actually like to be a full-time working councilor, returning residents’ phone calls, and doing the best I can for the constituents and their concerns,” said Chakoutis. “I’m running for the people of Ward 5. I live across from the street from Lynn Woods, I love the Lynn Woods, I love my ward and I want to make sure there is someone there (on the City Council) taking care of the things that matter to all of the people of our ward.”

Ward Five Councilor Candidate

Jake Keo

Lynn1The third candidate in the race for Ward 5 City Councilor is Jake Keo, a young retail manager and family man, who lives downtown and says he wants to see the city do the things it needs to do to help business grow in the city.

“I’m running because I have a passion for public service and I want to do something to improve our city,” said Keo. “As a resident and father in the city I’m very concerned about the future of our city. I want to help everybody in the city, and I especially want to help improve things for the people in Ward 5.”

Among his goals as a Council candidate, Keo says he’d like to see the city reduce the commercial tax rate, as a way of helping to bring new businesses to the city and keeping established businesses.

“I think we need to bring more jobs to Lynn and the way to do that is to bring more business to the city and find ways to retain the businesses that are already here,” said Keo.

Keo noted that growth of the community as a whole is tied to the ability for Lynn people to work and grow in the city.

“I want to see that our city is growing economically, that the economy is growing,” said Keo. “My goal for my first term would be for the people of Ward 5 to be happy with me and the job I’m doing, to feel that the voters think that what I’m doing is helping the city, improving public safety, improving public health and contributing to economic development in Lynn.”

Ward Five Councilor Candidate

Seth Albaum

Lynn1Ward Five Councilor hopeful Seth Albaum has never run for or served in elective office, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t served the city.

“I’ve been involved in the city in other ways,” explained Albaum. “I founded the Downtown Lynn Neighborhood Association in 2008 and in 2009.”

Albaum said that through the Downtown Lynn Neighborhood Association and Lynn Happens, he has had the opportunity to be involved in a number of different efforts that were focused on improving the city, such as the Lynn Cultural District committee and Market Street Visioning Plan. However, those efforts have varied success and he decided that he wanted to play a greater role by becoming involved in city government.

“The only way to really have an impact is to get on the (City) Council,” said Albaum.

He also feels that he’ll have a leg up on his opponents in the race, because he has been attending Lynn City Council meetings through his association with Lynn Happens since 2009 and that has given him important experience into how the city actually operates.

“We need someone who is capable of representing the entirety of Ward 5,” said Albaum. “From the Seaport to the elderly, to those in multi-unit housing and Pine Hill. I’ve been immersed in everything Lynn for a couple of years now and I’m looking forward to doing that.”

Albaum noted that his goals in running for office are to help the city move forward as a whole, and particularly in Ward 5, where he lives and works.

“One thing that I would like to see accomplished in my first term is the new Marshall Middle School,” said Albaum. “I’m in favor of it and I signed the pledge.”

Albaum clarified that support, and noted that he is in favor of the city’s proposal to build on Brookline Street, where the city just took land by eminent domain this past May to acquire a parcel large enough for the school.”

“Given the MSBA (Massachusetts School Building Authority) process, I believe that is now our best option,” he said.

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