A former Pittsfield, Massachusetts city council president is making a comeback bid after an eight-year absence.
Kevin Sherman, 44, was elected as an at-large councilor in 2007, and served until 2013 before choosing to not seek re-election.
“I had other areas of my life I wanted to focus on, most of which were my young children – [I] wanted to be involved in their lives,” he told WAMC.
Now, he’s making a bid for the open Ward 3 seat in the coming municipal election after incumbent Nick Caccamo said he wouldn’t seek a fifth term.
“My children and my wife Tammi and I looked at each other and said ‘why not, why not see if we can get back in?’" said Sherman. "I think we have some things to add to the council – some experience and also some, you know, I’m a lifelong resident of Pittsfield so looking forward to seeing if we can get back on the council and be a voice for the ward and the city as we rebuild from what's been just a obviously historically tragic year.”
Sherman says his top priority if elected would be everything Ward 3.
“It’s a very diverse ward," he said. "We've got schools, we've got parks, we've got wetlands, we've got a lot of different areas to focus on.”
Citywide, issues like housing, economic equity, infrastructure and education top his priorities.
“I think there's an opportunity as we come out of this pandemic where we're going to see you and we have seen an influx in residents or folks looking to move to a community like Pittsfield now that the work from home boom is here to stay, frankly, and I think there's a big challenge to be a welcoming community for those individuals so that they can support our current stores and businesses and the like, but also have a housing stack that's applicable for the diverse population that we have and are going to have,” said the former council president.
Sherman describes himself as economically conservative.
“I voted on a number of occasions to relieve the tax burden on the shift for businesses because we had gone way too far in one direction," he said. "So, it's a balancing act, Josh, and so I see myself as a moderate in that regard of ensuring that understanding that we can't tax folks out of house and home at the same time building the equity in our in our government and a rating that's important so that we can leverage when we need to borrow so that we have rainy day funds when we have emergencies.”
He gives top marks to the departing Caccamo.
“I thought Nick brought a reserved and thoughtful measure to the council," said Sherman. "And I think that's a leadership style that's important to have.”
Sherman says he considers Mayor Linda Tyer a mentor and friend from their days serving on the council together, as well as when he led it from 2011 to 2013.
“Linda was a great Ward 3 city councilor, and then city clerk, and I was able to work with her as the city clerk when I was the president of the city council,” he said.
Sherman shared his thoughts with WAMC on a few hot topic Pittsfield issues like the recent proposal to adopt a pay-as-you-throw trash system:
“The pay-as-you-throw I would not be in favor of as a remedy to whatever issues are there," he said, "I think there’s an opportunity for more discussion in regards to toters and things of that nature.”
As well as renewed outcry from some city residents to stop Pittsfield’s involvement in a mosquito spraying program:
“Candidly, I was on the council when we voted for it," said Sherman. "Right now, I’m hearing and reading that it’s not going as well as it’s planned, so I think we need to revisit that and see if we can put the brakes on it and find a better way.”
Pittsfield’s preliminary election is September 14th, with the general election November 2nd.
Nomination papers will be available starting Friday.