Local Government and Politics, News

Lynn candidate profile: Who is Jared Nicholson?

This article was published 1 year(s) and 11 month(s) ago.

Lynn mayoral candidate Jared Nicholson speaks to seniors about his vision for the city during a meet-and-greet at St. Stephen's Tower Apartments. (Spenser Hasak)

LYNN — Jared Nicholson is pushing hard to the Nov. 2 city election, promising to dedicate his efforts as mayor to furthering COVID-19 recovery, investing in infrastructure, fostering an inclusive decision-making process, and providing  affordable housing. 

Nicholson, a member of the School Committee, also sees Lynn booming with life-science businesses like Cambridge or Boston’s Seaport. 

He says his campaigning strategy has been based on conversations with potential voters. 

“We’ve had thousands and thousands of conversations over the course of this year (about) where Lynn is going,” Nicholson said. “And we’re running that really forward-looking campaign about pushing for a better Lynn that includes all of us.” 

In his view, a forward-looking mayor is what Lynn needs: someone who wants to uplift everybody, someone who can build a vision for the future with input from the community, and someone who can collaborate with other leaders in the region.

“I’d bring a record of being there for people when they need it,” said Nicholson. “The fact that I speak Spanish has been really helpful (in) being able to work directly with constituents.”

Nicholson considers himself open, accessible, and dependable.

If elected, Nicholson would like to improve the process of decision-making in City Hall by including more people in the conversation and reaching them where they are at by using social media and cable TV, and by going into the neighborhoods. He believes that the city’s website needs to be upgraded and made easier to use.

He also would like City Hall employees to better reflect the community. Nicholson is ready to actively support diversity hiring in the city.

“No doubt, we won’t be able to please everyone,” said Nicholson, explaining that he would try to listen and understand everyone and be transparent, while keeping his focus on his priorities as a mayor. 

After a robust and transparent transition from the current administration, if elected, Nicholson’s No. 1 priority would be to continue COVID-19 recovery and invest into infrastructure so that the city is better positioned for future development. He believes that fixing sidewalks, first of all, would provide people with better mobility, which would favorably impact local businesses and safety, because more people will be on the streets to look out for and report issues.

“Walkability is a big part of that opportunity that we have with our infrastructure,” Nicholson said. 

Housing and schools are also among his top priorities. Nicholson understands that housing in Lynn doesn’t meet standards and many people pay too much of their income in rent or can’t afford to come back to live in the city after college, for example. 

Nicholson served on the steering committee for the housing production plan, dubbed “Housing Lynn: A Plan for Inclusive Growth,” that was recently unanimously approved by the Lynn Planning Board and the City Council, with an 8-2 vote, this fall. He believes that the city will benefit from its headline recommendation ― inclusionary zoning ― which requires developers to make some percentage of units affordable for Lynn residents. 

“We need housing of all types in order to make this work,” Nicholson said. “And it’s that combination that I think is really going to make this work and is how we sort of harness this potential.”

He believes there should be a system that allows developers, the city, and the community all to win by balancing affordable housing with the needs of a developer. He thinks Lynn should also watch for what has been done in Chelsea, Quincy, Lowell, and Brockton — places he believes are comparable to the city. 

Nicholson will also explore what could be done to build more schools more quickly. He has served on the School Committee for six years and, as mayor, he would like to work with the City Council and the School Committee on specific plans for the new Pickering Middle School.

“Education is the foundation of it all,” said Nicholson. He thinks that new better schools can create pathways to higher-paying jobs.

He would like to grow vocational opportunities like the successful E-team machinist-training program, which is run by the New Lynn Coalition and provides training at no cost to Massachusetts residents who are unemployed or underemployed. The city could create building-and-trade apprenticeships with unions, Nicholson said, and encourage more students to participate in after-school programs at Lynn Vocational Technical Institute.

A mayor can be also involved in creating a flowing pipeline between vocational programs and bigger companies like GE, facilitating hiring, Nicholson said. Moreover, he believes Lynn could attract the booming life-sciences industry just like Cambridge or Boston’s Seaport because of its proximity to Boston.

During his campaign, Nicholson has really enjoyed meeting residents and small-business owners. 

“I really love that idea of supporting local businesses because it’s creating growth for our community that stays in our community and helps our community,” he said.

Nicholson believes that small businesses greatly benefit Lynn and that they should be included into planning processes both in the neighborhoods and on the waterfront.

He has been running a small business clinic with his Northeastern University law students both in Boston and in Lynn on Union Street, providing free legal help to 40-50 low-income entrepreneurs and small businesses a year. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the clinic helped businesses navigate financial and rent issues and understand reopening rules.

Nicholson believes that the city should support the capital and staffing needs of the Lynn Police Department and that those needs should be tied to community goals. He is supportive of close collaboration between the police department, the Lynn Racial Justice Coalition and the All Lynn Emergency Response Team (ALERT).

He wants Lynn residents to feel a strong connection to their neighborhoods and one another, and to feel a sense of safety and belonging.

Ultimately, Nicholson wants Lynn to be a place that children love but are able to go anywhere from here: a place with better schools, better housing, better jobs, and clean beaches. 

“I am really grateful for all of the support and great conversations,” Nicholson said.

Nicholson faces City Council President Darren Cyr in the Nov. 2 city election. 

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