Question: What are the two most important issues facing Somerville right now, and what would you do on the Board of Aldermen to address those issues?
Following discussions with many citizens of the community, my response at this time would be the escalating concerns of Rats from one end of the city to the other. It is my opinion that not having properly educated the ENTIRE community of simple measures which could be taken to combat this issue has been a mistake. Health and safety should always be paramount. Working collaboratively with our Health Department, the Board of Aldermen can and should lead in this effort. With winter weather fast approaching, and without proper attention to detail of this serious matter, the interior of our homes is in serious jeopardy.
The second issue on my radar screen at this time is smart and affordable growth and development. There have been new state grant monies (Chapter 40R – Smart growth for densely populated areas) available and I don’t feel that Somerville has taken enough opportunity to apply for these funds. As has been evidenced by my role as a school committee representative, I do my homework and am not afraid to make decisions.
Question: Tell us about your background.
Somerville native and seven term school committee member Mary Jo Rossetti has emerged as one of the state’s leading proponents for children and families. A prior youth sports director and Girl Scout leader, she began her public advocacy work as a Secretary-Treasurer of the Powder House Community School PTA and as PTA President of Somerville High School. After several terms as various school councils co-chair, she was elected to the Somerville School Committee in 1999 and, shortly thereafter became active in the Massachusetts Association of School Committees (MASC), serving as Chair of MASC’s Metropolitan Division. Mary Jo became a member of the MASC Board of Directors in 2007. Following nomination and intense annual interviews, Mrs. Rossetti is currently President of the statewide association. In this role she continues to travel the state and country speaking on behalf of Massachusetts.
Ms. Rossetti has participated in several Federal Relations Network sessions in Washington. For the past three years, meeting monthly at the State House, she has also represented all Massachusetts school committees as she serves on the governor’s Local Government Advisory Commission, working alongside Mayors and selectmen statewide. Here she has been a forceful advocate for school funding and children’s safety net issues. Mary Jo oversaw the creation of several state public policy resources for school finance in perilous economic times and for students at risk.
Ms. Rossetti has also used her experiences serving students and families in economic crisis to focus on the plight of transient and mobile students, who may move as often as 3-5 times each year in search of employment and social stability. She was cited by legislative leaders for her role in helping to secure the nation’s first legislation requiring the gathering of data and research in this area.
In addition to her recognition by state and national advocates for children, she was named Person of the Year by the Somerville PTA in 2008 and currently serves as the Somerville School Committee Chairman and legislative liaison. When she is not indoors as a public advocate, Ms. Rossetti has also volunteered outside with young people as Somerville’s Open Air Circus Baton Twirling instructor.
As their parents did for them, Mary Jo and her husband Rick chose to remain in Somerville and raise their two daughters, Jaclyn and Kara. Mrs. Rossetti credits her dad’s unwavering commitment to not only his country but also his community as the very reason for her commitment and passion in her attempts at making a difference.
Question: Why should Somerville residents vote for you?
If elected by the people, as Alderman-At-Large I will bring with me the same drive and passion I currently employ as Chair of the Somerville School Committee. Each one of us has strengths and weaknesses. Recognizing the strengths and leveraging that connection to harness teamwork within a community makes for a successful outcome. I do my homework and am not afraid to make decisions. Somerville has much to be proud of, but there is also much to consider.