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Meet the Newcomer to Worcester’s D1 Race

Monday, February 11, 2013

 

Chris Rich is a newcomer to the local political scene and is running for Worcester City Council, to take on Councilor Tony Economou for the District 1 seat.

Rich says he wants to give Worcester that “extra push” to realize its potential and thinks he has something unique to bring to the leadership in the city.

A Worcester Native

Rich was born and raised in Worcester and lives with his wife and two daughters. He attended school in Pennsylvania, but returned to the area. He now works in the tech field for a software company, and this election will be his first stab at local politics.

Why Run?

When asked what brought on the decision to run for council, Rich said, “I’ve lived in Worcester for the majority of my life, and I’ve always had a kind of underdog feel for the city.”

Rich added that it’s not fair to the city that Boston takes up so much of the spotlight – something he wants to change.

“If you’re not in or around Boston, it’s not held in the same regard, and I’ve never felt that was very accurate. All cities and towns no matter where they are have an identity, and they should take pride in that.”

Rich said he admires Worcester’s history and how it has changed over the years, including successes and failures, and says he identifies with the city personally.

Giving Back Not for Gain

More: The Fight for Worcester's District 1 Seat

Rich says that he wants to see Worcester’s full potential and has the right ideas to get it there.

“I’ve worked hard, and taken pride in what I’ve done,” he said. “And what I’m giving back is not for personal benefit. I love my job and family, and I have something unique to offer.”

Still, Rich said that he will admit that there were times when he said, “Ah, Worcester, when are they going to get it right.” But Rich said that this attitude has made him realize the need to get engaged.

“I finally woke up and thought, the reason is because they need someone like you to do it,” he said. “I’m not doing this to pump myself up for the future. I’m doing this because I have a lot of good ideas that I’m not afraid to talk about. And they might not going over well with some, but this is taxpayer money. There needs to be some debate – we need to ask people in the city.”

On the Issues

Rich identified himself as a fiscal conservative, but when asked where he stands on social issues, he said it’s a bit more complicated.

“That’s really something I would need to look at on a case by case basis,” he said. “I’ts hard to say in general, but government has its place, but it’s not every place.”

On the REO

The city council’s debate over the controversial Responsible Employer Ordinance was one of the largest issues in recent past. Rich said that while he understands where businesses are coming from, he would have supported it.

“I would have supported it because if you’re going to build a strong community, there needs to be a strong partnership. At the same time I understand where the businesses are coming from,” he said. “They thought it was a restriction, and they’re out there to make money. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I would have supported it.”

On Crime and Police Staffing Levels

When asked his thoughts on the city’s crime and police staffing, Rich admitted that he would need to ask questions, but this mentality, he said, is the key to improving leadership in the city.

“I’m not a police officer,” he said. “I would need to sit down and get more info. What are the challenges you’re facing? Why are more warm bodies going to help?”

Rich said that as someone in the tech. field, he appreciated the city’s use of security cameras to enhance protection in the city and thinks it is a good solution to meet realistic goals.

“What other non-human resources can we use? Of course, I would love to have a cop on every corner, but there are realities we need to understand.”

Rich is hosting a fundraiser at Joey’s Bar and Grill on February 27th, 2013 and plans to have his campaign website launched soon. 

 

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