Worcester’s Joe O’Brien has decided not to run for mayor again. On Tuesday, September 20, city voters will still be able to vote for him – as City Counilor at Large.
Here is the letter (citing the reasons for his decision) O’Brien emailed to his supporters.
– R. Tirella
I am writing to inform you of my decision to not seek the office of Mayor. Instead I will only run for City Council At-Large.
This has not been an easy decision. I recognize that it will come as a surprise because I have already launched my Mayoral re-election campaign. But over the course of the last month I have come to realize that the pressures of running another campaign and then serving as Mayor for another two years would be too much for myself and my family at this time.
When I ran for Mayor two years ago I promised that I would be a full-time Mayor and I have kept this promise. In doing so, I created significant challenges for my family.
While I have been honored to the Mayor of this great city, I have struggled to balance the life of politician, husband, and new parent. My wife Lisa and I, in our mid forties, became parents for the first time of four year old twins from Ethiopia a couple of months after I took office. As everyone knows, while being a parent is joyful it is also a challenge. Our children need to have two parents who can commit themselves to their development and integration, particularly our son who has had some special challenges adapting. To do the job of Mayor right, the commitment required me to be out for many nights, weekends, and holidays. I don’t believe it is in the best interest of my family to do this for another two years. In addition, earning a part-time salary while serving as a full-time Mayor, in our form of government, has also created financial pressures that are not sustainable for our family at this time.
It has been a honor to serve the people of this great city as Mayor and it has been great to work with so many people to make s difference. Working with the City Manager, the City Council and our School Committee and administration we have accomplished a lot of great things, and undertaken some important initiatives. Today, two years after taking office, long planned construction projects are underway, our economy is growing, our city schools are improving and our neighborhoods are more stable. With extended office hours, neighborhood walks, the new Civic Academy, and almost daily visits to local community groups we have worked hard to engage the people of Worcester and bring a new sense of accountability to local government. The Mayor’s Task Force on Economic Development produced a host of recommendations, most of which have already been implemented. We launched a Mayors Small Business Roundtable, and my office has helped lead a community initiative to improve the academic experience of our Latino students. I am especially proud of the work we have done together with our Immigrant and Refugee Roundtable to help our new Americans become fully engaged in our community. And we spent many hours working to insure that our working people have a voice at the table and that as we have grown our economy we have insured that good jobs were created for the residents of Worcester.
I am proud of this record and I hope that with your help I can continue to support these efforts as a City Councilor at Large. I plan on working with the new Mayor to insure that many of these efforts continue and I will still be on the front-lines when needed to help advance our shared agenda.
I want everyone to know, as I exit the Mayor’s office, that our city is blessed with outstanding leaders in our City Manager Mike O’Brien and our School Superintendent Dr. Melinda Boone. I have truly enjoyed working with them and I hope I will be able to continue to do so in the City Council.
Most of all I want to thank all of you for your friendship and support. I am truly blessed to have so many wonderful people who have helped with my campaigns and cared for me and my family. I could not have done it without countless people who have stepped forward to lend a hand and I will always be grateful that you helped me have the honor of serving the great people of this city.
I hope that we can continue to find ways to work together to make life better for the people of our city, state and nation. Some among us dislike politics, as if we could have good government without it. We disagree. For us politics is the way we turn citizenship into a verb. I hope we can continue to do our public work together.
Yours in friendship,