Fred Smith

Fred Smith

Former mayor and alderman Fred Smith has announced he will be a candidate for mayor of Watertown in the April 2019 municipal election.

He is the second person to declare his intentions to run for this position. Emily McFarland, 1st District alderwoman on the Watertown Common Council since 2013, announced she would be running for the position. Under city term limits, Mayor John David cannot run for re-election in April. He will have completed two consecutive three-year terms.

Smith had served as Watertown's mayor for nine years and a member of the city council for 14 years in the past.

"If elected as your mayor, I pledge to again provide positive, team-oriented, and responsive leadership based on the principles of fiscal responsibility that have always served our community well and which, if faithfully followed, will insure our brightest tomorrow," Smith said in a news release.

Smith said he is a pro-growth, business-friendly, fiscal conservative.

"Some people view fiscal conservatives as little more than 'status quo naysayers,'" Smith said. "However, leading by the principles of financial integrity will allow us to provide maximum value for each dollar spent and have the capacity to fund those initiatives that will lead us toward our brightest future. My pledge from the very outset of this campaign is to keep the interest of our taxpayers foremost among our values."

Smith said there are two key principles to insure the city's financial foundation stays strong. The first principle is to promote the growth of the city's tax base, anchored by a strong business environment and the second is to manage its spending.

Smith said the next three years will be challenging and will require the will to say "no" or at least "not now" whenever necessary.

Since his first election as mayor and throughout 23 years in elective office, Smith said he has sought to provide leadership to restrain unnecessary spending and insure quality city services were efficiently provided.

Smith said he has a list of goals. One goal is to acquire new industrial land for future development. Another is to consider a city administrator form of government with an elected, part-time mayor as chief executive while electing some council members on a citywide basis but keeping the majority of council seats representing separate districts.

Smith supports promoting the ongoing library expansion and a public and private partnership for the continued downtown revitalization. In addition, he believes there could be more done with the city's streets and infrastructure, saying additional streets can be improved by resurfacing rather than complete reconstruction.

Another goal is to make public safety a No. 1 priority and to promote the building of a satellite fire station on the city's west side.

Smith also wants to have a communitywide initiative to tackle addictions such as drugs. He said this effort would include the medical community, school system, city health department, area churches and private sector organizations.

Smith graduated from Harvard University and the University of Maine School of Law. In 1986, following 11 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, he and his wife, Diane, and their four children moved to Watertown. The past 17 years he has served as the pastor of Watertown Community Church, from which he retired on May 1.

Smith has set up a campaign website that should be up today at smithformayor.com.

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