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PowerPlayer: Lisa Wong, Mayor of Fitchburg

Monday, July 23, 2012


This week's PowerPlayer is Fitchburg Mayor Lisa Wong.  Mayor Wong, who has led the City of Fitchburg since her election in 2007, was kind enough to sit down with GoLocalWorcester and share her thoughts on the city and her job.  

1. You have been Fitchburg’s mayor for five years. What are three things you learned about the city and being mayor that most people don't know?

  • One thing that surprised me was that I am responsible for determining when Halloween trick or treating is.  I had no idea that it was the mayor's responsibility, and I just got such a big kick out of it.
  • People always ask me if the mayor's job is full time or part time.  In Fitchburg, it's full time.  And with cell phones, I'm never too far away - it's really 24/7.  Even when I'm out at other places, I'm looking for new ideas.  I love my job.  
  • People are the top priority.  It's great to have balanced budgets and great policies, but I spend a lot of time on constituent services and I am always happy to help.  

2. How have you seen the economy changed over the last year? How have those changes affected the City of Fitchburg?

When I was elected mayor in 2007, I put together a fiscal plan for the city, and then in 2008, there was there was the global economic meltdown, and we could not say to anyone "we're in trouble and need some help" because everybody needed help.  Since then, we have steadily built our stabilization fund from $10,000 to $3.56 million. We've done more with less, reviewed everything, become more efficient and I think we're better off for it.  

3. Take us through a day in your life.

My day starts when I roll over and turn off the alarm and pick up the cell phone, assuming it hasn't awakened me in the middle of the night with a crisis. At work, I usually go over my schedule, check out the papers, GoLocalWorcester and governing.com, and I have my plan for the day.  On any given day, I'm going to and hosting a lot of events, having meetings, usually involving fiscal, policy and personnel issues.  My goal each day is to try and see what's going on around the city - that could involve anything from touring the wastewater treatment plant to a construction project to meeting with a business to talk about our economic development plans.  At the end of the day, I try to be home by 10pm so I can spend time with my dog Cooper and relax.  

4. What are your priorities for the city for the remainder of your term?

We are kicking off a series of new street scape projects.  I'm really excited about working above ground for a change - we've been doing so much needed work on the sewers, dams and bridges.  I'm also hoping to get our stabilization fund up to $5 million, which is 5 percent of our budget as quickly as possible, and we are working on redevelopment projects to save historic buildings"

5. Tell us something nobody knows about you.

I was runner up for most bashful in high school.  

Quick Hitters

Role Models: Madeleine Albright, who first piqued my interest in politics and my mother, who I admire for coming to this country with nothing and building a wonderful life for herself and her family.

Favorite Restaurant: For breakfast: Moran Square Diner; lunch at the City Hall Cafe; Mill #3 Farmstand

Best Place to People Watch: A Bar Stool at Slattery's, while eating their zucchini sticks.  

Best Book You've Read in the Last Year:  A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide by Samantha Power

Advice for the Next Lisa Wong: It's never too early to start being a leader.  Most important thing to work on is your self confidence.


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