Pictured is former School Committee member Corinne Riley.
By BRIDGET TURCOTTE
SAUGUS — Former School Committee member Corinne Riley is vying for a seat on the Board of Selectmen.
“Watching Board of Selectmen meetings and other committee meetings, I feel that at times there’s not that many different point of views during discussion,” said Riley. “I think that more people can be represented in town.”
Riley hopes to bring a different perspective. As a volunteer at many different capacities for several years, she said she has seen the needs and heard the concerns of different community groups.
She has served as the chair of the Saugus War Monument Committee, a member of the Belmonte Renovation Steering Committee; Belmonte School Council; Belmonte Parent Teacher Organization; an executive board member, league manager, and coach for Saugus Softball Little League; a religious educator at St. Margaret Parish in Saugus for eight years; co-chair of the Saugus Coalition for the Homeless; and campaign manager for the re-election of state Rep. Donald Wong.
“One of my strong points is my ability to work with all groups,” Riley said. “I have dealt with many personalities especially while volunteering. You have to be able to give and take and negotiate, for lack of a better word, to get things done. I’m an independent thinker but I have the ability to change my mind if someone has a better argument.”
While serving two terms on the School Committee, she advocated for salary increases for teachers and paraprofessionals that work with special education students, for new science labs, and proposed to lower extracurricular user fees. She worked with the Saugus Chamber of Commerce to bring back the student job fair at Saugus High School in 2014, which has since become an annual event.
When she learned the Ballard Early Education Center was the only school with a defibrillator, she advocated for private donations to fund defibrillators in each school, she said.
“There are other things that could be addressed that, at this time, people don’t seem to want to discuss,” she said.
Riley said the new combination high school and middle school project is a priority for her. But she also sees strong needs in other parts of the town. She strongly believes the Fire Department needs to expand to include a third station on the west side of town.
“With all the development and planning for Route 1, we really do need another fire station,” she said. “That’s really something I would like to pursue. Route 1 will be invaded with more traffic and more people.”
It’s also imperative to conduct a more thorough census, she said.
“I really think this town would benefit from a town-wide, door-knocking census,” she said. “We need to be interviewing people and talking to them and getting the real numbers.”
Higher numbers could qualify the town for additional state financial aid, she said. It would also support the notion that an additional fire station is necessary.
Bridget Turcotte can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @BridgetTurcotte