Matt Molk is running for a seat on the Peabody City Council. (Jade Brewer)
Local Government and Politics, News

Peabody City Council races heating up

PEABODY — Another candidate has tossed his hat into the ring to grab a seat on the Peabody City Council.

Matt Molk, a 2000 graduate of Peabody Veterans Memorial High School, has announced he is running for Ward 5 councilor, a seat held since 2014 by Joel Saslaw.

A graduate of Emerson College, Molk is the director of creative technology at Peabody-based GraVoc. He describes the company as a technology consulting firm with a strong focus on the community, which is "building some of the most innovative apps available in today's technology market." He sees technology as one of the biggest issues facing not only the city, but the state and beyond.

"As a technologist, I see the vaccine is much larger than the national and state issues," he said. "I am totally embarrassed by the response of elected officials across the board. Technology needs to play a larger role going forward. The pandemic has put us in fast-forward mode. We need better Internet across the board.

"Internet access has now become a commodity similar to electricity, but unlike our electric service, which is provided by our city, we are entirely dependent on Comcast. When elected, one of my primary goals will be eliminating this dependency by focusing on the development of city-owned broadband. I am the candidate to best assist the city in reaching a higher level."

Other important issues cited by Molk include housing, police and finance.

"I am all for responsible housing development, and by that I mean housing that doesn't end up with our students as losers," Molk said. "I would love to see development for 55 and over seniors. New housing development has its place, but it must be mutually beneficial for all. It must not impact our already overcrowded schools and must keep taxes low."

For Molk, there is an urgent need for the police to be held to a higher standard.

"I come from a law-enforcement family. My father was a police officer for 28 years, so I know firsthand what it's like. I consider my dad and all police officers to be heroes, but we do need to hold them to the highest standard. You don't have to pick one side or the other; it can be both."

Molk also feels it's time for Peabody to "watch our wallets."

"We are going to feel the impact of coronavirus for a long time to come," Molk said. "We need to come out of the pandemic ahead and we need to build up depleted reserves, and the same old song-and-dance isn't going to get it done. Businesses need to think outside the box to be in a better position coming out of the pandemic. We are not operating under the same rules anymore. This is a different world."

Molk said his support team includes GraVoc founders, Dave and Cathy Gravel and Mary Bellavance.

"I am motivated by Dave and Cathy Gravel, who built their business while simultaneously bettering the community," Molk said. "I am inspired to do the same through the implementation of my skills and experience."

Molk has served on the Peabody Access Telecommunications (PAT) board of directors since 2010.

"I am very passionate about it and have been fortunate enough to sit on various committees," Molk said. "I am extremely proud of what they do. PAT’s goal is to stimulate cultural, artistic and political expression through the use of video and digital media. This also includes the youth programs available to get the students of our city familiar with technology while providing them a safe outlet for their creativity."

Saslaw said he is proud of his record as a councilor.

"Quality of life has always been the most important thing for me, and I believe I have been extremely transparent in terms of accessibility when it comes to Facebook responses and responding to emails and phone calls," Saslaw said. "I have not supported every budget proposed by the mayor. I am concerned about the city's overspending in too many areas."

Molk and his wife Serena (Shapiro) grew up in Peabody and have two sons, the oldest of whom is a kindergartener at the Burke School.

"My intentions are to carve out the ideal place within this crazy world to call home," he said. 

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