On Springfield

Fenton Takes the Helm

Did you miss today’s inauguration ceremony at City Hall?

Fear not; Masslive has a transcript of new Council President Mike Fenton’s speech, which touches on Springfield history (raise your hand if you feel old when you realize that the Council president witnessed Bill Clinton’s 1996 visit to City Hall sitting on his daddy’s shoulders) and on his vision for the future.

I’m particularly interested in Fenton’s plans for two new Council committees: one charged with finding new sources of revenue for the city and the other with helping attract more “young professionals” to live and work in Springfield.

Fenton also noted in his speech the diversity of the Council; as Paul Tuthill pointed out in his WAMC report, for the first time, the majority of councilors are people of color, not white—a dramatic change that’s taken place in just a few years’ time, and that can be traced, in part, to the advent of ward representation.

But I can’t help but point out (again) the lack the gender diversity on the Council: only two of the members (Zaida Luna of Ward 1 and at-large Councilor Kateri Walsh, who was elected vice president of the Council today) are women. Voters don’t seem disinclined to vote for female candidates when they have the option, so the question is: why do so few women run for the office?

Fenton will announce his committee assignments tomorrow at noon.

© 2014 The Valley Advocate