By Luke Gale
Last week, the Advocate ran profiles of the challengers vying for at-large positions on the city council. Out of the five current at-large councillors, two are running for mayor, leaving three incumbents to defend their posts. The Advocate had a chance to speak with those three councillors this week, and asked them why Revere residents should re-elect them to another term. Here’s what Councillors John R. Correggio, Robert J. Haas, Jr., and Anthony T. Zambuto had to say:
“This city council, along with the mayor, has accomplished so much in the last six and a half years. It’s just really tremendous what we have here.
The three incumbents boast more than 40 combined years of experience in the Revere political arena.
Zambuto has been on the council for twelve years. Correggio has been there for eight and was also a member of the school committee for six years during the 1980s.
Although not technically the longest serving councillor out of the three, Haas undeniably wins the prize for most Revere political experience.
Haas served as an at-large councillor for twelve years beginning in 1979, as mayor for eight years beginning in 1992, and he returned to the council as an at-large member in 2004.
Voters may often be tempted to vote for new candidates in order to inject new blood into the political system, but Zambuto cautioned against that temptation.
“It’s a question of what you do with your time,” he said, “When you’ve been around a while you you can accomplish major changes that will affect the city for the better for many years to come.”
Through their decades of combined experience, the three councillors have accomplished a lot for Revere.
Correggio cited his efforts as school committee member to reduce class sizes, to create a comprehensive policy handbook, and to institute bulk purchasing of school supplies with surrounding communities
As a member of the council, Correggio said he helped to secure funding for fire and public works departments’ equipment, to construct five new schools in Revere, and to require safer electrical disconnect methods on newly constructed buildings.
“This city council, along with the mayor, has accomplished so much in the last six and a half years,” Correggio said. “It’s just really tremendous what we have here.”
Having served two stints as a councillor and one as mayor, Haas had a lot to list.
“As mayor, we had a very successful eight years,” he said, highlighting the approximately $900,000 surplus in the city’s budget upon his departure.
Haas also said that as mayor he brought outside investment, additional revenue, and new business to Revere, and that he worked hard for a senior center.
Zambuto said that his major accomplishments as a council member include working for a new public safety complex, changing the rules regarding the issuance of special permits, and requiring a financial analysis of projects that cost the city more than $5,000
“I think that’s a pretty stellar record,” Zambuto said.
As is the case in many communities, there are many issues specific to Revere that residents care about. The candidates recognize that.
“To put my finger on one single issue,” Haas said, “I really can’t do that.”
While the candidates recognized that there were more issues to discuss than there was time to, they each separately addressed several common themes that have been running through Revere politics.
The specific topics they discussed included lack of public safety officers, taxes, the possibility of expanded gaming, and economic development and an economically unfriendly environment.
Haas said that, if reelected, he would try to balance Revere’s residents’ desire for lower personal taxes with the city’s need for additional personnel to provide services.
Correggio talked about the potential for additional revenue from a gambling facility and said that he would like to use that money to fix the city streets and sidewalks.
“Hopefully we bring in more revenue from gaming and we can update all our streets and sidewalks,” he said. “It’s badly needed.”
A Few Good Quotes
“I’ll partner up with anybody to do what’s right for the city, but I won’t partner up with anybody to do something underhanded. I never have. I never will. I do what’s right.”
- Anthony T. Zambuto
“Everything I do on that Council, it’s what’s best for the city and what’s best for the taxpayers. I’m very independent and I take my job very seriously on that Council.”
- John R. Correggio
“I’ve had a very successful run in Revere politics. I think that people believe that I’m genuine. I’m not going to say something to get elected and then change my vote. My word is my bond.”
- Robert J. Haas, Jr.