New City Council Members and Their Advice for You

New+City+Council+Members+and+Their+Advice+for+You

Do you want to know how you can make a difference in this community? Well, the four newly elected members of Chelsea’s City Council have some input for you.

After the recent election, newly selected city council members include Christine Mehuron, William Ruddock, Tony Iannelli, and newly elected Mayor Jane Pacheco. Since Chelsea’s government is made up of six city council members and one mayor, each member gets one vote and four votes are needed to make something a policy.

Mayor Pacheco is ready to take on her role as mayor. With eight years of experience being on the City Council, she has been able to learn all the aspects of the City Council and the community.

“There’s a lot of opportunities because there are so many new council members,” Pacheco said. “I think we’re going to be able to accomplish a lot of things that we weren’t able to in the past.”

With Pacheco’s previous experience on City Council, she was able to adjust pretty quickly as Mayor although the position does warrant more responsibility with more duties, which include running the meetings and representing the city.

“I have an understanding of how municipal government already works, so I have the basics down,” Pacheco said. “I don’t have to go through the learning curve of what being on City Council means.”

Mayor Pacheco is looking forward to working with everybody whether it’s students, seniors, or families.

“I think the more decision makers we allow to be engaged in the process, the more perspectives we get, the better and stronger it’ll make our community,” Pacheco said.

When facing challenges in both our community and school, the city council members believe that looking to the resources around you can get you far. Knowing why you’re facing a challenge is important in figuring out how to fix it. Not only will learning problem-solving skills help you in your daily life, but it can also help you make changes for the good of the community.

Pacheco’s strategy for solving problems is thinking around the whole issue.

“I like to understand what I’m up against which takes quite a bit of investigation, exploration, and research,” Pacheco said.

Council member Iannelli likes to be prepared for any issues he might encounter and focuses on listening to the perspectives of others. Oftentimes, getting multiple viewpoints on a particular issue can help him form an ultimate conclusion.

“Expect the unexpected, lean on resources and expertise that you can get from your family, friends, and colleagues, and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it!” Iannelli said.

The City Council encourages teens to get involved in this problem-solving process as it is accessible and possible. There are so many ways that students can assert their voices in our community. Pacheco says when going about making a change in your community, finding something that you’re passionate about is key.

“Find a meaningful issue and then research it,” Pacheco said. “I encourage students to do some research and find some possible solutions to problems in their community, or school. Use [the information you gather] as a model to go into your community and propose solutions. My suggestion would be that it be something that truly matters to you.”

There are many ways that teenagers can get involved with their community right now! Volunteer opportunities are always available through the Library, Faith In Action, Chelsea Senior Center, and many other local organizations. Spreading simple acts of kindness can also make a big difference such as picking up litter in the park, or helping a neighbor with chores like leaf pickup or snow shoveling. There’s no limits to how you can help others in your community and make it better through doing so.

“Youth service on city council can be a foundation for that person’s future endeavors,” Mehuron said. “Seeing the permanent positive results of one’s work on the council is a source of pride and self-respect that no one can take away.”

Mayor Pacheco understands how teenagers might feel like they are not being heard. The council is brainstorming ways on getting the youth in our community involved in decision-making.

“I think there’s probably a number of things that we could do when working on ways to help teenagers have a voice at the table,” Pacheco said. “We’ve had some conversations about putting together a Youth Government week in the spring. Beyond that, we’ve had some conversation about a program where there would potentially be a student liaison to the city council.”

The members of the council are deeply interested in what students have to say and our perspectives on issues the council deals with. Iannelli believes the youth of Chelsea have the power to make more positive change than expected.

“Often youth may feel disconnected from local, state, and federal governments because they may feel that their voices are not heard or acknowledged, but I’m happy to say that is not the case here in Chelsea,” Iannelli said. “Last summer some Chelsea youth took to the streets to protest social injustices that led to our community hosting two listening sessions which created an opportunity for us to implement police policy reform.”

Youth can, and have, made changes. Council member Ruddock was very moved by the protests that took place in the summer of 2021 concerning the Black Lives Matter movement. It inspired him to run for City Council so he could be a part of the decision-making concerning diversity and equity.

“I had no intention of ever running for office again, but [the protesters] woke me up to what needed to change,” Ruddock said. “What Chelsea needs right now is to move forward and I want to be part of that solution.”

Mehuron added that she wants to be there for the teenagers in our community. She is supportive of the school system’s Board of Education and supports the Board’s diversity, equity, and inclusion policies.

“I would like to listen to Chelsea teenagers, to understand what the City should do to offer more opportunities for teens’ enriched social life and learning experiences,” Mehuron said. “I think it is the responsibility of adults to develop opportunities but also to find ways to listen to teens’ concerns and what they want to accomplish and to help them to get together.”

Mayor Pacheco pushes us all not to be afraid to engage in local issues.

“My invitation to the CHS students is that they should make their voice heard and that I’m here for them,” Pacheco said. “You’re welcome to call, text, or email me at [email protected] I am open to hearing suggestions from students about how they would like to engage with the City Council.”

Sharing your voice and thoughts can help the leaders in our community better understand what needs to be done and also teach one the elements of activism and problem-solving.

“Share your voice,” Ruddock said. “[Teens] have eyes that see things that adults don’t see. Share it. Let us know your perspective. If we don’t hear you, say it louder.”