Local Government and Politics, News

Candidates speak their minds in Nahant on the Northeastern expansion and odors of the Lynnway

Eleventh Essex District candidates for State Rep Peter Capano, Hong Net and Drew Russo at a candidates forum held at the Nahant Life Saving Station. (Owen O'Rourke)

NAHANT — Candidates for the 11th district State Representative seat agreed on issues regarding the Northeastern University expansion and the many odors of the Lynnway during a public forum Thursday night.

Peter Capano, Hong Net, and Drew Russo, all members of the Democratic party and residents of Lynn, answered many of the pressing questions Nahant residents had in mind for them at the Nahant Life Saving Station. The packed room of Nahant and West Lynn residents cheered on many of the answers given by each of the candidates.

The one prepared question asked the candidates about their views on the Northeastern University expansion in Nahant and if it should be moved to Lynn. They were asked whether or not they stood with The Nahant Preservation Trust and Keep Nahant Wild in opposing the 60,000 square foot expansion at East Point and what their thoughts were on getting it moved to their neighboring city past the rotary.

Capano, Net, and Russo all agreed Nahant is not the right place for such a big expansion, but they slightly differed on the idea of moving it to Lynn. Net, Councilor-At-Large in Lynn, brought up the importance of the 162 species of wildlife in Nahant and the fact that some of them are listed as endangered.

“Nahant is not the right place for this expansion,” said Net. “But before moving it to Lynn we need to do more studies on the area and its wildlife and talk to the residents of that area.”

Capano, Ward 6 Councilor in Lynn, believes the expansion is too large of a development for Nahant to sustain and the priority should be preserving the town’s unique character. He believes moving it to Lynn would be win-win for everyone involved. Russo, the Lynn Museum/Lynn Arts executive director, believes there is a lack of transparency in Northeastern University’s plans.

Residents at the forum were asked to write down specific questions they wanted answered and moderator Jim Walsh chose which ones to ask aloud. One resident asked each candidate what they planned to do about the odors coming from Kettle Cuisine on the Lynnway and the Lynn sewage drains. They all agreed that they will continue to work with businesses that contribute to the community while still ensuring the satisfaction of all their constituents.

“Kettle Cuisine is a business that continuously contributes to the community and has invested in equipment to help mitigate any odors,” said Capano. “The sewage smells are coming from the West Lynn Creamery, which has been draining into the sewer systems, laying people off, and has been uncooperative for the last few years. They’re closing soon and they are the largest consumer of water in Lynn.”

The candidates also touched on the issues behind income inequality and all agreed that big corporations and the one percent are paying too little taxes for the amount of money they make. Russo, first time candidate for public office, believes that the country’s economic policies need to favor the working people, especially the middle class. When the topic of stricter gun control came up, the candidates agreed that guns need to be taken off the streets and there is no reason for anyone to own any sort of assault weapon.

Even though the candidates held similar opinions on the array of topics brought before them during the forum, they are each passionate about certain issues in the state as a whole. Russo believes there is a lack of investment in transportation across Massachusetts. Net argues that each community has its own needs, with immigration being Lynn’s, and rotary traffic — as well as Northeastern — being Nahant’s. Capano was passionate about rebuilding old schools across the state and situating how things are funded throughout the commonwealth.

“I have developed a real affection for this community,” said Russo. “As a first time candidate for public office I hope to bring a fresh perspective.”

Voting day for the 11th district State Rep. seat is Tuesday, September 4.

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