The Carnation’s candidate Q&A series continues with one of three candidates for Select Board, Mark Kratman. See other profiles as well as letters from and about candidates here.
All candidates running in Tewksbury were invited to respond, and we appreciate those who took the time to help the Carnation inform voters.
Name: Mark Kratman Seat sought: Select Board
1: Why do you want to serve on the Select Board?
The number one reason for running to serve on our Select Board is that I like helping people. There is not a week that goes by that I do not receive a call from a resident asking for assistance or guidance on resolving an issue or problem. When making my decision to run a big factor was that many residents asked me to please consider it. When residents or business owners have problems or concerns they know that I am always available to take their call and help to find a solution. Tewksbury needs responsive leaders that are willing to listen to all resident points of view.
2. Give us a brief bio: Where you grew up, family, interests.
I grew up in East Boston and I am 1 of 6 children (4 sisters and a brother) raised by the best mother that any child could ask for. We did not have much but we learned a great work ethic. I worked 2 full time jobs for over 27 years to help support my mother and my sibling’s education and eventually my own family. Moved to Tewksbury over 20 years ago and fell in love with our Town. I have a son and 2 daughters that all attended the Tewksbury School system. Most people who know me say that I am always happier when I am busy helping others. I enjoy meeting people and helping at all the community events in our Town. Continue to be an active participant in the National Night Out, Safe Halloween, Bicycle Rodeo and many other events that take place in our Community each year.
I am a very active member of the Tewksbury Patriotic Committee and organize and run the Memorial Day Parade and the 4th of July Celebration for well over a decade.
3. What is your education?
Attended the Boston Public School system where I lived prior to moving to Tewksbury over 20 years ago to raise my family and continued my education taking numerous engineering studies, AutoCAD, MUTCD, National Highway Institute training in FHWA Highway Program Financing and other associated engineering and business best practice studies. I have over 40 years of work experience finding the solutions to difficult problems and want to help our Town with the difficult issues especially the conditions of local roadways.
4. What is your “day job,” and how do your past or current professional experiences prepare you for service on the Select Board?
I currently work as the Assistant Operations Engineer of District 4 for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), covering 62 Cities and Towns, including Tewksbury. In my role, I also serve as the legislative liaison to those communities meeting State and Local officials to discuss new and ongoing construction projects as well as maintenance needs for all the municipalities.
5. If elected, what do you hope to accomplish in the next three years as a Select Board member? What is your platform? (feel free to include a link to your website or Facebook page)
Working very hard to lower taxes for residents so that we can continue to live in the Town we love. I have had many conversations with residents and community groups that would say that our kids would have a hard time buying a house and staying in Town. Now the conversation has turned to we do not know if we can remain living here as costs are out of control. You cannot talk to anyone in Town without hearing how upset they are at the current conditions. I hear you and promise to work to help.
I can be reached by phone at (978) 726-2912, Email Markkratman@gmail.com or on my Facebook and Twitter accounts.
6. How do you define your budget priorities if tough decisions have to be made?
The question should not be if. The tough decisions are already here. Roadways are in horrible condition. There is a 7 to 10 year wait for Senior Housing. We have borrowed to build a new High School, Police Station, Library, Center Fire Station and the new Elementary School. It will be a very expensive cost to residents just to take down the old Center Fire Station and the 2 old elementary schools. It is time to roll up our sleeves and come up with solutions before we take on any more debt.
7. Describe an activity, group or committee you’ve been involved with in town and what you accomplished as part of that team.
I currently serve on the Tewksbury Council on Aging Board of Directors, President of the Tewksbury/ Wilmington Chamber of Commerce, Vice President of the Tewksbury Patriotic Committee that runs and organizes the Memorial Day Parade & 4th of July Ceremony, Tewksbury 9/11 Board of Directors, Executive Vice of SEIU National Association of Government Employees, Proud member of the Tewksbury/ Wilmington Elks, The Knights of Columbus, The Lions Club, as well as serving on a non-profit community development Board of Directors in the City of Boston that helps seniors stay in the neighborhoods in which they lived and raised their families.
I have also had the pleasure of serving as Chair of the Tewksbury Economic Development Committee, The Lowell Regional Transit Authority (LRTA) Board of Directors, Tewksbury Zoning Bylaw Committee and the Tewksbury Beautification Committee.
8. What do you think is the biggest challenge facing Tewksbury, and how will you address it?
Lowering taxes and repairing our crumbling roadways
The biggest issue facing Tewksbury is balancing the budget while still providing a quality level of service to the residents. Property values continue to rise creating a higher tax burden on residents. Water and Sewer bills are still higher than most of the surrounding communities. We must work hard to continue to find ways to lower taxes but also invest in our community by adding much needed drainage, water main replacements, resurfacing and sidewalk improvements. There must be an evaluation of all Town assets buildings, vehicles and how we are maintaining them. Complete inventory of our roadways including our water, sewer lines, drainage connections should be rated and prioritized as needed. It makes no sense resurfacing a roadway that floods or has water, gas or any other utility lines that are likely to break or need replacement. Sidewalks should be installed that connect to somewhere. We have made numerous sidewalk improvements but many just end or are not cleared off during snow & ice events and we simply can do better.
9. Do you support the new DPW facility? Why or why not?
No. Spending 25 to 40 Million dollars to build a new DPW facility is just too expensive. We have way too much existing debt and should not take on any more until we can get taxes, water and sewer bills and other costs under control.
I absolutely support our DPW workers but a new building does not fix roads, sidewalks or breaking water mains. Our DPW workers need help and working out on the road all day, repairing potholes, mowing the fields, clearing catch basins and more jobs than most people know just to come back to a shiny new building is not a top priority.
When there is a 7 to 10 year wait for Senior Housing and we say we can’t afford to build that how can we justify building a new DPW building?
10. What would you say to residents to encourage them to vote for you?
No one will work harder for you than me, that I promise you. I pay attention to what is going on and actually listen to residents. We can do better and I hope to make a big difference in our Community.
I love this Town and want to be a part of making it better for everyone. I am always working on trying to find a solution to whatever challenges we may have and hope to get us back on track.
I respectfully ask for your Vote on Saturday April 2nd, 2022.