After living in Springfield's Ward Four for thirty years, I was really looking forward to the day when I could vote for a councilor who was elected from and responsible to the Ward Four residents-- as well as all the other residents of the city. But it was not to be. Two years ago, just as voters approved ward representation by an astounding 74.2%, I had to move to Ward Six, which includes Forest Park. It's a lovely neighborhood, but scarcely problem-free. We need good representation, too!
Amaad Rivera was born and raised in Springfield. He is one of the smartest people I have ever met-- and I mean smart as distinct from educated, although he's educated, too, with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing with minors in Psychology and Information Technology from Bentley University. He completed his Master of Education at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst in May 2009.
Education per se doesn't impress me, but commitment to public services does. He's been politically and socially active for almost all of his 27 years. I want you to check out his website, so I won't go into the whole list, but he was an AmeriCorps volunteer for one year and then, "By his early 20s Amaad was an AmeriCorps Program Officer for the Massachusetts Service Alliance, becoming one of the youngest AmeriCorps Program Officers in the entire country. At the Massachusetts Service Alliance, Amaad managed an 11 million dollar portfolio of organizations dedicated to addressing issues of poverty, health care disparities, environmental disasters, education inequity, civic engagement, volunteerism, and youth development. In addition, he acted as the liaison between the federal and state governments to service programs all over the state of Massachusetts. " So he has some administrative and business experience, too.
One of the reasons so many of us worked so hard for ward representation was to give people like Amaad an opportunity to serve us.
This year we will be voting for five at large councilors and one councilor from our neighborhood who knows us and who has a special responsibility to us. But every ward councilor also represents the city as a whole, so all of us should care about the quality of the candidates who run for a ward seat.
In Forest Park, at least, I don't have to worry. Amaad Rivera will do an exfellent job for us, and for the whole city.