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Life As a Couniclor
Methuen Councilor Kathleen Corey Rahme

Before I took office in January of 2004, I had many dreams and aspirations about what I could do for the betterment of the city of Methuen. It should always be the goal of elected leaders to work for their city and to make an impact of some kind. Let me tell you; it is not all ribbon cutting! I have had good luck in my ability to help my constituents and the rewards have been great. It is very satisfying to know when people call you; they are able to feel they received service.

I planned to devise a way for our youth to get involved and be part of the fabric of our community. It is when you participate that you take ownership. It is that commitment that lends itself to making Methuen a better place and neighborhoods safer. There is a willingness to give back to the city in which you live.

I organized the Methuen Youth Corps so that the young people would be able to become active in their community and at the same time resume’ build. This has become so important to all aspects of entry into private high school, scholarship and eventually college. These young people participate in a variety of activities both in the nonprofit arenas and for our city. They take on projects that benefit others and themselves. Oral testimony after many of these service projects reflect that the young people of Methuen actually gain more than they give from these projects.

Another goal that I had as a city councilor has been to motivate individuals to be part of the solution when they are faced with challenges to their neighborhoods. Whenever there has been a proposed zoning change or any development, I have worked with neighbors and neighborhoods to seek relief and try to work toward a mutually agreeable end. I have created neighborhood associations throughout the city and fostered and nurtured already existing ones. I am so proud to have worked with so many energetic people and families throughout the city. Let me give a shout out to some of them. I have worked with the Birchwood Estates, Ashland Avenue, Oakside Avenue, Myona Street, and Fenwick Circle, Morrison Court, Washington Apartments, Hampshire Road, Oakland Street and Linda Avenue neighborhoods to name a few.

I was successful in amending the existing zoning law by eliminating the 50 acre requirement. The zoning law stated that if a property was over 50 acres, then the abutters needed to be notified of zoning changes. If it was less than 50 acres, no notification was necessary.  It was archaic because there are few pieces of land in Methuen that are that size. This change has given much needed relief to neighbors and abutters. They will always be formally notified whenever any parcel of land is proposed for a rezone.

I worked tirelessly with the Ashland Avenue/Gill Aven-ue neighborhood to make a difference in the Gill Avenue Park.  I put forth legislation to amend the Massachusetts General Law that requires a 1000 foot drug free zone in schools and only a 100 foot zone around parks. I tried to change the park to 1000 feet. The city council passed it unanimously and a Home Rule petition was sent to the State House. We attended a hearing and testified before the Joint Judiciary Committee. Unfortunately, it was given the kiss of death and sent to study. Attached to the existing legislation is a minimum, mandatory sentence so I think the legislators who work as defense attorneys on the side didn’t like the original legislation to begin with.

I put forth legislation this year to protect local access television and it was passed unanimously. As a participant and a consumer of local access television, I see the importance of maintaining it at the local level. Competition has always existed. I testified against the proposed legislation to take it out of local control at the State House last month. I believe we were successful in having the State Legislature take a long look into the ramifications if the Bill were to pass.

One of the most fun things I have enjoyed participating in are all the parades in Methuen and Lawrence. I especially like being invited to events for children at schools and scouting. As a Scouter for 15 years myself, as both a leader and girl scout, I really like being invited.

I think it is interesting that some things have no easy fixes. The proposed natural gas pipeline in East Methuen was beyond local control and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission is set up specifically to take it out of local control. There have been other things that don’t have ready fixes but for the most part, calling your councilor or this councilor has yielded good results.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to have served at the pleasure of the citizens in Methuen; first elected as the Central District Councilor, 2004-2006, and now as the Councilor at Large and Vice Chair. I feel personally satisfied with my record and voting history. I have tried my best to serve my constituents. I have done all that I can do as a legislator at this time. I am ready for a challenge and I would be honored to continue my work in Methuen serving as your next Mayor.

 Kathleen Corey Rahme is the former Central District Councilor in Methuen and was elected as a city councilor “at large” in 2005. She is also the vice chair of the city council and founder of the Methuen Youth Corps. Kathleen is a candidate for mayor of Methuen. She also hosts “Call to Serve.” You can email her at kcoreyrahme @comcast.net

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The July 2007 Edition of the Valley Patriot
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