Mayoral candidate is attorney, professor, crime fighter

This article appeared on August 25, 2005 in the Standard Times

The headline in The Standard-Times says it all, “Nine Candidates to Run for Mayor.” I am one of those nine. The question is, how do I distinguish myself from the other eight candidates in a way that convinces the voters that I am the most qualified and experienced person to lead New Bedford at this time.

First, I need to introduce myself to each and every voter in this city. My name is Scott Lang, I am 54 years old. I am not a politician; I have never run for governmental office. I am an attorney who has lived and practiced in this city for 27 years. My wife and I came here to have and raise a family. Throughout these 27 years, my wife and I have been heavily involved in community activities for the purpose of bettering our city. For 12 years, I was an assistant district attorney, fighting crime in the trenches, prosecuting first in the District Court, and then the Superior Court. I have more real law enforcement experience than any candidate in the race. I have represented working families for my entire career. I have represented labor unions as well as management. I have represented the small business owner as well as major companies in various legal matters. I have real experience in the private sector. I understand the value of a tax dollar. I understand that nothing is more important than respecting individuals as people, and their the right to express varying viewpoints and ideas. As an adjunct political science professor, I believe in the sanctity of democracy — the idea that every vote counts, and that it is the responsibility of all citizens to be involved in the governing of their community, both by participating in discussions and debates and, ultimately, by voting.

Over the past few years, it has become apparent to me that the city is headed in the wrong direction. Speaking to the citizens of this city has convinced me that the city administration needs to be changed. The Mayor is out of touch with the neighborhoods and the problems that we face on a day-to-day basis. Crime and personal safety is the number one issue in this city. There is a real feeling that our city has become lawless; that there is a complete lack of respect for the neighborhoods and its families. The quality of life in New Bedford is on the decline. Rising tax rates and an erosion in city services is a recurring complaint throughout the city. The Mayor’s response to a discussion of these issues is dismissive. His standard comment of “that’s just a politician playing politics” is insulting to every resident in this city. His attitude shows an indifference to the primary concerns of every neighborhood.

People need to trust their Mayor. The life-blood of trust is communication. A breakdown in communication means the collapse of trust. As a candidate, and as mayor, I will communicate with the people in each neighborhood to determine what needs to be done and how I can best serve the interests of all the people in this city. The Mayor’s full-page ad campaign and “pardon our dust” quasi-campaign signs, paid for by city money, six-weeks before an election, and after years of neglect, are not going to convince people that the city is headed in the right direction. A real debate regarding the real issues which confront our city is a necessity in this election process. Questioning the Mayor’s leadership is not blasphemy, but rather, it’s a civic duty of a concerned electorate. Two weeks ago, I issued a challenge to the Mayor; join with me in discussions, forums or debates throughout the neighborhoods, in front of the people of this city, to listen to the people and explain our visions for the future of New Bedford; I am fully engaged in this process. Other than his advertising campaign and “pardon our dust” posters, I have not heard from the Mayor, and I don’t believe the people of the city have either.

I will see you in your homes, in your neighborhoods, and at any gathering that I am able to attend, to introduce myself in person and hear ideas and ask for your support in making New Bedford a safer and more welcoming place to live for all our families.