New Open Mic Show: Rep. Campbell on Civics, Michitson on Setting City Goals

State Rep. Linda Dean Campbell with Bill Macek in WHAV’s Edwin V. Johnson Newsroom.

Younger residents are not turning out at the polls during elections and state Rep. Linda Dean Campbell hopes to change that.

Appearing Monday night on WHAV’s New Open Mic Show with Bill Macek (video below), Campbell said her Civic Education bill aims to require eighth graders to understand how local, state and federal government works.

“Millennial voting numbers haven’t been what we’d like them to be,” Campbell told listeners. She said her bill would once again make civics a required course and let students know “they have a voice” and can effect societal change.

Campbell, one of Haverhill’s four representatives, said her bill has gained much “clout,” since it is co-sponsored in the state Senate by now-Senate President Harriette L. Chandler.

She also discussed the state’s supplemental budget, being debated this week, that will, among other things, provide more money to cities and towns to offset special education costs.

A supporter of converting the former Cogswell School in Bradford into an arts center, Campbell said, she is working to secure $200,000 for the project in a state bond bill. Calling it, “a project very near and dear to my heart.” The state representative congratulated volunteers for doing the difficult work early on and raising private money.

“This is going forward and will fit in well with community,” she said, explaining the future center is within walking distance of the new Mayor James J. Fiorentini Bradford Rail Trail.

Haverhill City Council President John A. Michitson.

Also appearing on the New Open Mic Show, Council President John A. Michitson said the City Council will begin setting goals for the city during a Tuesday Feb. 20 Administration and Finance Committee meeting.

He said the new approach is especially important as he informed listeners of Fiorentini’s concerns about an expected reduction in state aid to the city during the upcoming fiscal year.

Michitson explained once goals are set, department heads would be asked to figure out the resources they need to meet those goals. He called it the first step toward developing a full strategic plan for the city. Goals may include tackling the opioid crisis—reducing or eliminating deaths. That would mean hearing proposals from the police department and school superintendent, for example. Later on, Michitson said, the city would review data to determine its progress toward meeting specific goals.

The council president also discussed such economic development goals as reinvigorating Merrimack Street, possibly by having the city construct a new commercial building on spec to attract business.

“Now is the time to do it. The economy is still going up,” Michitson said.