Somerville Alderman Candidate: William Roche

William Roche, who is running unopposed, responds to questions about his background, Somerville and Ward 1's most important issues and why residents should vote for him.

What are the two most important issues facing Ward 1 and Somerville right now, and what would you do on the Board of Aldermen to address those issues?

This is a two-fold answer as the two most important issues facing the city are the Green Line Extension and the build-out of the Assembly Square area. However, the two most important issues facing Ward 1 are the renovation of the East Somerville Community School and renaissance of East Somerville and Lower Broadway.

I will direct my answer toward the Green Line Extension and the build-out of the Assembly Square area as this will play a large part of the renaissance of East Somerville.

Green Line Extension.

The State is legally obligated to extend the Green Line through Somerville, and I intend to work with the administration and organizations such as STEP to be sure the State keeps their commitment.

This is important to Somerville because the Green Line will extend the existing MBTA service from a relocated Lechmere Station in East Cambridge to East Somerville, Union Square and Ball Square. This will boost Somerville’s economy and create many jobs for Somerville residents.

This project will greatly improve public transit service in one of the most densely-populated cities in the Commonwealth and in addition improve air quality, public health and the quality of life for Somerville’s residents.

The Green Line Extension will do for the rest of Somerville what the Red Line did for Davis and Porter Squares. It is too important for the residents of this city not to assure it happens in a timely manner.

Assembly Square build-out

More land than The North End, more river frontage than Beacon Hill, more green space than South Boston—this is Assembly Square. Assembly Square is the largest new neighborhood to come to the greater Boston area in decades. The plans are to build out 1.75 million square feet of built-to-suit office space and 2,100 residential units, restaurants, hotels, movie theater, retail shops, sidewalk café’s and more.

Assembly Square will unlock the latent economic potential of Somerville's older industrial areas.

I supported the recent controversial $25.75 million bond that will build roadways, sidewalks and a storm-water outfall system necessary to support all of the planned building. Some people called this a risk, I called this an opportunity. One of the biggest things the people of Somerville are looking for are jobs and job opportunities, and we are right now on the threshold of making that happen. This is the kind of economic development that is good for the people and it's good for the City.

Tell us about your background

I have always given back to the community that I was born and brought up in—my grandchildren are now fourth generation to be born and brought up in Somerville. Before elected office I volunteered in various youth sports as a coach, in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts as a troop leader, in my parish and Saint Benedict’s elementary school helping in any way I can, as an advisory board member of the Little Sisters of the Poor, and as an appointed member of the City’s Traffic & Parking Commission and the Zoning Board of Appeals. 

Since being elected as an alderman I have made myself accessible and responsive to the residents of Ward 1. I take pride in being visible in the community by constantly ‘walking the ward’ to discuss residents' concerns and observe firsthand any deficiencies in the city’s services.  

My work experience as a manager for a large utility company and my master's degree from Boston University have given me the education and maturity to deal with people at all levels on controversial issues and the ability to solve them in a timely manner.   

Why should Somerville residents vote for you?

I have always worked hard as an alderman and have a proven track record accomplishments, responsiveness, and results. I treat each and every call for assistance with respect and urgency. As an example of my dedication and hard work, I was the only alderman to have perfect attendance at all assigned committee meetings in 2010. Two years ago voters demonstrated a great show of support for my candidacy by 88 percent of them voting for me—an all time city record for percentage of votes received by a candidate. They will see that same passion and work ethic from me that they expect from their elected officials. Even though I am unopposed I am asking all residents to vote for me on November 8.


Ellen McPherson@gmail.com November 05, 2011 at 10:49 PM
What an uplifting interview with Alderman Bill Roche! Having known Billy since junior high school, I heartily agree with his comments regarding the trajectory of his public life. Somerville is fortunate to have someone with Bill's passion, experience, humor and skill who continues to engage in civic life on many levels. Thanks for staying in the game Billy! Ellen Fabiano McPherson


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