LYNN — Darren Cyr says that he loves the city more than anybody can imagine.
The Lynn native believes that he possesses considerable local government experience and has proven his leadership skills over the years and during the COVID-19 pandemic. And he often repeats about himself and others that “If you talk the talk, you got to walk the walk.”
Cyr, 62, has been a city councilor for Ward 3 for 16 years and City Council president for the past four years.
“I can step into the job and not have to become acclimated,” said Cyr. “I’ve done almost everything you can imagine at some point for the city government in Lynn.”
He admits he doesn’t always get along with everybody, but his views on life have transformed with each decade and he is a firm believer in compromise.
“My thing has always been, how do we make it work?” said Cyr. “I don’t agree with a lot of the politics that are going on in our country, but I look at it as an elected official. I represent everyone. So even if I don’t agree with you, you should be given the right to sit at the table and be heard.”
Cyr believes that Lynn needs a mayor who has experience living in the city and has raised a family here, who has gone through the Lynn school system and worked two jobs to provide for their family.
“It comes down to someone who has the experience of being able to handle whatever comes their way no matter whether it’s a catastrophe or if it’s a positive thing,” said Cyr.
Out of everything he has worked on as a city official, he is most proud of helping to feed thousands of people every day during the pandemic. He and other councilors helped organize and worked along with volunteers at the Salvation Army, packaging meals. More than 10 million meals were created for Lynn residents in need.
“We all worked together on this,” said Cyr. “The amount of money that we raised, the amount of organizations that worked with us, the amount of city agencies and unions that worked with us, the Salvation Army, the way they came through for Lynn is just so unbelievable.”
Without revealing names, Cyr said that he already has people in mind who he would like to see on his City Hall team. He is looking for leadership qualities in his staff members.
“My office will well represent the diversity that’s in the city,” Cyr said.
If he gets elected, Cyr wants to tackle communication with residents right away by establishing numerous monthly community meetings throughout different communities in the city, neighborhood groups or church groups. He said his door will always be open to anybody.
A big part of Cyr’s platform is housing. Cyr was one of two councilors who did not vote to approve the housing production plan, “Housing Lynn,” which was drafted by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) in partnership with the city and the Lynn Housing Authority & Neighborhood Development (LHAND) and approved by the Lynn Planning Board and the City Council this fall.
“The housing production plan is not really about affordable housing. All this is a political move by people,” said Cyr. “It’s just giving false hope to people.”
Cyr believes that asking a developer for a percentage of units with reduced rent in exchange for incentives is not economically feasible for the developer and their lenders, and Cyr believes they would just go to other communities.
“I say that we can come up with affordable housing, real affordable housing,” said Cyr.
He proposes to create a housing program where developers would be asked to put 1 to 2 percent of the cost of the project into a fund, which will then be used to subsidize rents and home buyers loans.
Cyr would like to give families with a $40,000 annual income, whether single- or two-parent households, an opportunity to buy a two- or three-bedroom condo with a mortgage at a lower rate at a longer term.
To help seniors live off of their Social Security and retirement, Cyr said, the city could provide them housing with a low fixed rent and, in return, buy their house from them.
Cyr believes that development of Lynn is the way to bring tax revenue into the city, fund dilapidated infrastructure, create higher-paying jobs for residents skilled in trades, and boost the economy for the next 40-50 years.
“We have to build people up,“ Cyr said. “The only way we’re going to break the cycle of poverty in the city of Lynn is through better education and high-paying jobs.”
Cyr thinks that he could get city’s unions and developers to cooperate. He said that unions currently don’t understand developers’ needs and developers don’t understand unions’ needs.
“So you’re going to get both groups into the room and you got to get them both talking,” Cyr said.
He believes that developers could be involved in creating apprenticeship programs and maybe provide housing for the apprentices.
Cyr envisions Lynn as a destination that could offer the natural resources it already has: its history and new modern housing.
“The ocean here is just spectacular and you have the Lynn Woods, you have the golf course, and you have tons of parks throughout the city that you can go in and play basketball or tennis or baseball, or you can walk your dog,” said Cyr.
He wants people to raise their families in Lynn and have their kids stay in the city, too.
Families he grew up among on Herschel Street, Cyr said, were invested in the city and he can see that a lot of the Latino community in Lynn has similar values in the way they provide for themselves, creating their own jobs, working a lot of hours, going to church on Sunday, and making family a priority.
“What I’m looking for is to make Lynn the greatest possible city for all of us,” said Cyr, adding that it is up to voters to decide who they want to represent and lead them.
“What you see is what you get. I mean, I’m not going to fake it. I know people say that I should smile more, that I should wear a suit and a tie,” said Cyr. “I am what I am. And that’s the way I have always been. And I will fight every single foot for everybody in the city.”
Cyr faces School Committee member Jared Nicholson in the Nov. 2 city election.