New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell is running for a sixth consecutive term in office.
The Democrat was first elected in 2011. He served four straight two-year terms before becoming the first New Bedford mayor elected to a four-year term, after residents voted to extend the length of the city’s mayoral terms.
In announcing his candidacy, Mitchell touted his accomplishments throughout his tenure, which included reductions in crime and unemployment, plus an improvement in the high school graduation rate and a commitment to capitalize on the growing offshore wind industry.
The New Bedford native was a federal prosecutor in Boston and Washington, D.C., and also served six years in the National Guard. He graduated from the city’s public schools and went on to earn degrees from Harvard College and George Washington Law School.
Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 7.
12 News has sent a questionnaire to each candidate to learn more about them. Below are Mitchell’s responses.
1. Why do you want to be mayor of New Bedford?
“Too often in politics today, talk passes for action, and partisanship has replaced problem-solving. It’s extremely frustrating, and it’s happening seemingly everywhere, especially in Washington. I ran for mayor because I believed that it didn’t have to be that way, at least not in New Bedford.
“I believe just as firmly now that the residents of our city deserve accountable and effective city government. I take pride in the fact that my administration has done what I said it would do. And the results speak for themselves.”
2. What do you think is the biggest issue facing New Bedford in the next few years?
“Working together, we have reduced the city’s unemployment from thirteen percent to five percent, raised the four-year graduation rate in our schools and the city’s bond rating to their highest points ever, reduced crime by over 30 percent, built new public spaces like the HarborWalk and CoveWalk, and ushered in the offshore wind industry amid hundreds of millions of dollars in new port infrastructure.
“Our approach has required persistence and hard work, but it is working. As we look ahead, we will continue to invest in more infrastructure – streets, sidewalks, water and sewer lines, and port facilities.
“We will facilitate the construction of new housing for people at every income level. We will invest in our police department so that it can continue to keep our city safe. We will close the learning gap in our schools left behind by the pandemic.
“New Bedford has tremendous momentum now, and I ask for your vote so we won’t skip a beat.”
3. What do you think is a hidden gem in New Bedford?
“Of the many gems in our city, one of the most hidden is the Museum of Madeiran Heritage. Located near the grounds of the famed Feast of the Blessed Sacrament, the museum is a beautifully designed, living tribute to the richness of Madeiran and Portuguese culture. And admission is free!”