Esteban Carrasco, Jr.

Candidate for one-year term on the Southbridge Town Council

Esteban Carrasco, Jr., is a 36-year-old minister and employee of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He first ran for and won a three-year seat on the Town Council in 2013, garnering 1,144 votes — more than any other candidate on the ballot. In 2016, he sought re-election, this time taking on a vacant two-year seat, and won election with more than 71 percent of the vote. He has served as chairman of multiple Town Council subcommittees, was twice appointed as Town Council Vice Chairman and served as Council Chairman for nearly two years.

Mr. Carrasco believes his respect for the residents and voters of Southbridge is a key trait that makes him a good member of the Town Council. The main issues in town needing to be addressed, he said, establishing stability within town government relative to the status of Town Manager Ron San Angelo. He also believes Southbridge is “at a crossroads” with ongoing school issues and financial difficulties facing the community.

The Citizen Chronicle: What prior experience do you have that makes you qualified to serve?

Esteban Carrasco Jr.: Currently I am one of the senior members of the Town Council and I have worked closely with our Town Manager. I understand the issues that are before us and that is the reason in which I want to continue to serve our community.

The Citizen Chronicle: What do you think makes a good Town Councilor?

Esteban Carrasco Jr.: What makes a good Town Councilor, in my opinion, is respect. We all have different opinions on different matters and we all view and comprehend situations differently, but if you can’t respect someone because they have a different view or just simply disagree with you, you are not serving your community. A town councilor is a representative for “the people” and we must serve them with respect.

The Citizen Chronicle: What is your point of view on the future of the fire station?

Esteban Carrasco Jr.: I am waiting for the report back from the fire station building committee because I have seen over the years, in budgets and in purchases of capital items, how we pay more for equipment because we need to make our trucks fit our outdated facility.

The Citizen Chronicle: What is your point of view on the status of the public school district?

Esteban Carrasco Jr.: I am one of the small voices that continue to say that we are making progress, but I acknowledge that it is slow progress. I have witnessed over and over again how we have dedicated teachers that go in everyday and deal with a great level of disrespect from students and parents.

I know many want a magic wand to solve the dilemma but we need to solve the real problem. Many have said that we have a different breed of kids nowadays but think about it — kids learn from adults. We had educators and administrators that needed to be weeded out, and it has happened. We have some really great parents who are involved, but we need more. Part of the problem that I see is that we have different kind of parents that are not engaged in their children’s education, and in turn we get disruptive, disrespectful and uneducated children making it hard for the rest of our kids to learn. In order for our school to change, we need more parents involved and it has to start at home. Trust me, our educators are doing the best with what they have. It’s time for us to do our best.

The Citizen Chronicle: What is your point of view on the status of the landfill?

Esteban Carrasco Jr.: I’m glad it’s closing!

The Citizen Chronicle: What is your point of view on the hotly debated riverside park proposal?

Esteban Carrasco Jr.: It was a complete shame that a great idea became political and it may cause this community not to see a grant of such in the future. We slapped the state in the face!

The Citizen Chronicle: What is your point of view on the reputation of the town and its leadership?

Esteban Carrasco Jr.: I truly believe that we have given ourselves, in many cases, our own reputation. The current leadership of the Town Council has caused a great divide and continues to feed drama. We need to look for solutions and work with our town manager and department heads; micro management is not the answer. There are conversations that can be had privately and greater work can be done.

The Citizen Chronicle: What is your point of view on the future of Town Manager Ron San Angelo?

Esteban Carrasco Jr.: It is unfortunate that our town manager went through an extremely embarrassing moment at the start of this current council leadership. I have worked with several town managers in my time as a town councilor, and I can tell you the our current town manager wants to see our community succeed. He has an open door and is willing to listen to the citizens of Southbridge. The job that we hired him to do here in Southbridge, and at the time he was hired, was not an easy task but he has made some significant changes to our fiscal responsibility and continues to work hard even when he has not been allowed to do his job.

The future of the town manager is at the hands of the next sitting council. It will either start negotiating a new contract or it will start a town manager search committee.

The Citizen Chronicle: What is Southbridge’s greatest asset?

Esteban Carrasco Jr.: I truly believe that our greatest asset is our people. The people in our community are full of life and have been contributors to many success in our community. From local business to local business being recognized on a national level. We have it here in Southbridge. We know how to come together when a tragedy hits both locally or even nationally. I truly believe that needs to be used and cultivated further.

The Citizen Chronicle: What is Southbridge’s greatest problem?

Esteban Carrasco Jr.: Our greatest problem in this town is our self esteem. We have been given a very tough hand to play currently, but let me tell you we have some players in the game that really care for our community and are not going to give up. We need to highlight the good and feed on that momentum. We need to put personal agendas aside and turn this community around. We will never be what we were before, but we have the opportunity to be greater and better than before.

 

This week, The Citizen Chronicle will be publishing interviews with the current candidates for a seat on the Southbridge Town Council. This year there will be four seats on the general election ballot on June 12. There will be three three-year seats decided on by the voters, and one one-year seat to fill a vacancy made by the resignation of Wally MacKenzie.

Interviews with the current Town Council candidates will be published in transcript-form. The publication schedule is as follows:

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