Newcomer Clarise Vanderburgh seeks North Adams City Council seat
So she's running for North Adams City Council on Nov. 7, facing 16 other candidates who are all vying for nine available seats.
"I've been watching the council meetings and getting a little upset about everything that's going on, with taxes being raised and with them not questioning anything the mayor was putting forward," said Vanderburgh, who is more commonly known by friends and acquaintances in the community as Claire.
A city native and lifelong resident for 71 years, Vanderburgh recalls a time when the city's downtown was a bustling business district with movie theaters and department stores.
"We're headed in the right direction with [the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art] and everything, but I think we really need to focus on our Main Street, which is kind of dead," Vanderburgh said. "I would love to see little shops coming in. We have the people coming, but we don't really have any little shops down there on Main Street."
Bringing in business, she argues, could help alleviate the tax burden.
Vanderburgh believes residents are concerned about rising taxes and city spending, particularly those who are older and on fixed incomes.
"We need to take consideration for all of our citizens, not just part of them," Vanderburgh said. "They can't just call up social security and say 'I need a raise.'"
The city, she added, needs to "learn to live with a budget."
Vanderburgh does support projects like the Hoosic River Revival effort, she said.
She's stayed in the city, in which she raised five children, through all of its changes over the years, probably due to its small size.
"We kind of know everybody here, and I think that's what I like," Vanderburgh said.
Though retired after a career that included more than a decade at Berkshire Bank, Vanderburgh still works part-time at Walmart.
Those interested in learning more about Vanderburgh can find her on Facebook.
Reach staff writer Adam Shanks at 413-496-6376 or @EagleAdamShanks on Twitter
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