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"A bright, thoughtful future for our great city"
Osborne recommits to serving Medford
July 6, 2015Posted by on
Reposted from the Medford Transcript.By Alex Ruppenthal
Posted Jul. 1, 2015 at 9:12 AM
Neil Osborne tallied 200-plus more votes than any other candidate in West Medford’s Ward 6-1 during his 2013 bid for a seat on the Medford City Council.
Outside of West Medford, though, Osborne didn’t fare nearly as well. He ended up in 10th place with 2,471 votes, more than 1,000 behind council newcomer and seventh-place finisher Adam Knight.
“The signs went up all over West Medford, and it was sort of a pride thing — ‘That’s our guy,’” Osborne said. “But now I realize that while that’s still important, the work now has to be done for the rest of the city.”
It wasn’t long before Osborne, a civil rights attorney and president of the Mystic Valley Area Branch of the NAACP, decided he was going to run for council in this year’s November election. And it didn’t take much time for Osborne to figure out the changes he needed to make this time around.
“I learned what worked and what didn’t work,” said Osborne, 51, who is campaigning outside his own neighborhood this year to make sure residents throughout the city know his name. “And now, I’m going to have some help.”
Osborne’s campaign manager is Jim Silva, who runs the South Medford Residents Together (SMRTO) group, which provides regular updates about issues in South Medford and advocates for the neighborhood’s residents.
Osborne’s team also includes his wife, Maria Scott-Osborne; architect Doug Carr; Sanctuary United Church of Christ pastor, the Rev. Wendy Miller Olapade; Haitian community leader and disabilities advocate Henry Milorin; and Anna Ekpenyong, a board member for Medford’s Council on Aging; among others.
“I’m feeling so much stronger this time simply because of the folks I get to bounce ideas off of,” Osborne said.
Osborne, who has lived in Medford for 45 years, graduated from Medford High School in 1982. He earned a Master’s degree in labor relations from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst before completing his law degree at Suffolk University.
After serving as legal counsel for the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority, Osborne started his own law firm on State Street in Boston in 1998. Most of his work involves representing plaintiffs in employee discrimination cases — a job that Osborne said has prepared him to become a city councilor.
“I spend most of my time listening,” said Osborne, who is using a shareable Google Document to inventory feedback and comments he receives from residents during his campaign.
Osborne realized after the 2013 election that he might have done too good a job listening — and not enough self-promotion.
“I need to talk more about myself,” Osborne said. “I’m slightly uncomfortable doing it, but I’ve done a lot in this community.”
His résumé proves it: In addition to leading the area NAACP branch, Osborne has held positions or is currently involved with Mystic Valley Elder Services, Medford Health Matters, West Medford Baptist Church, West Medford Community Center, Medford High School’s Alumni Association and the city’s Community Development Board.
“I’m like, ‘How many more things are you going to sign up for?’” Scott-Osborne said of her husband. “And I do [community] service. But he’s kind of been an inspiration because you should be able to do everything you want to do — especially when what you want to do is help people.”
During Osborne’s June 14 campaign kickoff, he and his team collected canned food items to donate to an area food pantry, in addition to promoting Osborne as a council candidate.
Silva is also helping Osborne organize “curbside meetings,” where Osborne will spend time talking with residents at intersections throughout the city. Residents will also be able to fill out voter registration cards at the event.
“It’s not just about when he gets elected — it’s about right now,” said Scott-Osborne, adding she and other members of the campaign team plan to help Osborne promote himself. “We as a team supporting him will let people know what he’s doing.”
Along with the curbside meetings, Osborne said he is hoping to have coffee with residents who want to learn more about him.
“I am much better at those small, engaging groups because I can connect with them,” he said.
What issues is Osborne focusing on during his campaign?
Number one is constituency services, Osborne said, including the addition of a 311 system for reporting issues such as potholes.
If elected, Osborne said he would also hope to increase staffing for the city’s Department of Public Works.
“That’s a direct correlation to why our roads are so poor,” he said.
Other priorities include bolstering maintenance of city buildings and building a new station for the Medford Police Department.
“Maybe we’ve got to bond our new police station because a city of this size having folks work in that building, it’s unacceptable,” Osborne said. “Everyone knows it has to be rebuilt. Now we need the will.”
Osborne said he still considers himself an underdog, given his 10th-place finish two years ago. But with his new team and focus on campaigning across the city, Osborne feels better about his chances in November.
“I’m confident that I can compete,” he said.
More information about Neil Osborne’s campaign is available on his campaign website,www.NeilOsborneforMedford.com, and also on Twitter, @NOsbn4Medford. Contact him by phone at 617-933-3855 or by email at Attyosbn@gmail.com. Contact Jim Silva by phone at 617-645-2767.
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