Opinion

Chakoutis to the rescue

When Shaw’s Market announced its decision to close the chain’s State Street store, Lynn Ward 5 City Councilor Dianna Chakoutis wasted no time zeroing in on the closing as a priority issue affecting seniors living downtown.

Working closely with Mayor Thomas M. McGee, Chakoutis scrambled to find a way to help 1,000 seniors living in large senior residences near Shaw’s. Because she knows the people she represents and takes their telephone calls, Chakoutis knew immediately that Shaw’s closing meant people who relied on the State Street store as a convenient place to shop for food and to fill prescriptions needed help, and they needed it quickly.

She helped schedule a meeting with Stop & Shop management to discuss senior shuttle bus service to Stop & Shop’s Washington Street store located a short driving distance away from State Street, but too far for many seniors to walk.

The bus service is scheduled to begin today at 9 a.m. with stops at St. Stephen’s, Wall Towers and St. Mary’s senior housing residences. The bus will run every Tuesday and Wednesday at 9 a.m.

Chakoutis quickly praised Stop & Shop for stepping up to help local seniors. But it was the West Lynn councilor whose reputation for organizing is well known who stepped up and tackled an issue that demanded urgency.

Chakoutis, working with McGee, did not wait around for the Shaw’s closing and the lack of a store near downtown senior residences to reach the crisis point.

She understood the problem facing seniors immediately and appreciated the ramifications a store closing has on hundreds of lives. Chakoutis didn’t wait for seniors to besiege City Hall or hold action meetings in the common rooms of their residential buildings before jumping into action. She fielded calls, she talked to the people at Stop & Shop in charge of making decisions, and she took action.

She is the definition of the consummate city councilor who listens to her constituents night and day and who understands that, as an elected official, her job is defined by tackling nuts and bolts problems that have an immediate impact on the people she represents.

She has sat in her share of meetings and read her share of city reports and council agendas, but Dianna Chakoutis stood up and got the job done when it counted as a ward councilor. She deserves the praise and appreciation of a grateful city.

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