Shaunna O’Connell is the incumbent in the race for Taunton Mayor.
The Republican was first elected in 2019, becoming the city’s first female mayor. Prior to that, she represented Taunton in the state legislature starting in 2010.
O’Connell is a Taunton native who worked for 15 years in “many different areas of the legal system,” according to her website.
She’s facing a challenge from her former chief of staff, Ed Correira.
Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 7.
12 News has sent a questionnaire to each candidate to learn more about them. Below are O’Connell’s responses.
1. Why do you want to be mayor of Taunton?
“As a lifelong Tauntonian, I care deeply about our city, the people, and the future. Since being sworn into office, we have made significant progress in improving the city’s financial outlook, strengthening public safety, upgrading infrastructure, providing for our seniors with funding programs, expanding tax relief and fixing the senior center, improving our parks and recreation, bringing new businesses to the community, and helping our most vulnerable. Our city is on its way to becoming a leading city in the Commonwealth while always protecting the taxpayer. Now is not the time to turn the clock back. We have increased our grant revenue by 500%, doubled our investment income, and improved the bond rating to AA+, saving taxpayers money for generations to come. We need to continue down this path. Most importantly, Taunton needs a full-time mayor who doesn’t have any conflicts of interest. I am the only candidate who voters can count on to put people ahead of politics.”
2. What do you think is the biggest issue facing Taunton in the next few years?
“We need to keep Taunton affordable, safe and growing. For many years, projects such as infrastructure improvements had been ignored. To protect taxpayers, I have made significant changes such as streamlining the budget, improving our bond rating to AA+, increasing grant funding by 500 percent, and identifying new sources of revenue such as a new solar project to generate $10 million for the city and getting dormant properties back on the tax rolls. These innovations are allowing the city to address infrastructure issues, provide equipment, and help our most vulnerable population while protecting taxpayers.”
3. What do you think is a hidden gem in Taunton?
“Taunton is a great city with diverse areas that showcase so much of what we have to offer: rich history of the Taunton Green, natural resources like Lake Sabbatia, robust business development at Myles Standish Industrial Park and Downtown, and beautiful recreational areas such as Memorial Park. But the real gem of our city are the people who are hardworking and caring. Whether it is supporting our kids, seniors, veterans, or someone in need, the people, businesses and organizations of this community always come together to care for each other.
“Our beloved events such as our Lights On Christmas Festival and Summer Celebration bring thousands of people together to celebrate cherished traditions that bind our community with the ties of faith, hope and fellowship.
“I am grateful to be a lifetime resident of this close-knit and welcoming community.”
4. Where can voters go to find more information about your candidacy?
Voters can find more information by visiting my website shaunnaoconnell.com.