CANDIDATE ANSWERS: Kevin Canty, candidate for Plymouth Board of Selectmen (one-year term)

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The Manomet Current recently posted a series of questions for the candidates for school committee and the board of selectmen. They will be presented in the order they are received.

What steps would you take to fix the town’s infrastructure, such as roads and bridges?

The infrastructure of our town, much like that of the rest of America, is in need of serious attention. It has been decades since our country’s infrastructure was given the attention it deserves, and Plymouth’s infrastructure is no exception to this national problem. I would work with the Department of Public Works and the Engineering Department to develop a comprehensive strategy for bringing our entire infrastructure up to date. I would ask them to first identify the areas that need the most attention so as to address the biggest problems first. I would then move on to areas that get the most traffic, both by residents and tourists, to make sure we get the greatest return on our efforts as soon as possible. After that, I would call for a systematic examination and improvement of the rest of our town’s infrastructure until all necessary repairs, updates, and improvements have been made. Further, throughout this process and beyond its completion I would put greater resources into necessary repairs of our roads, both new and old, so that potholes and other blemishes are fixed with greater speed. Our infrastructure is how our residents and visitors get around town, and its appearance has a big impact on the impression everyone has of our community. Our town employees already work hard to keep our infrastructure up, but we need to give them more of the resources they need to perform this important work and improve travel around Plymouth for everyone.

Do you support the town taking control of the Simes House?

I do. The town gave the Simes House Foundation more than a fair opportunity to raise sufficient funding and make the necessary improvements to get the Simes House in order, but ultimately they came up short. This property has the potential to be a tremendous asset to Manomet. At this point, the town should take control and then look for a nonprofit organization with an actionable plan, and a means to see it through, to take over the management of this property to make it into the centerpiece Manomet deserves. The taxpayer should not ultimately foot the bill for the management of this building because the Simes House Foundation failed to deliver, but Manomet would greatly benefit from this location achieving its original potential. That is why, and how, I support the town taking over control of the Simes House.

What policies do you support to improve the summer parking situation on White Horse Beach?

The summer parking situation at White Horse Beach is a complex problem, and any solution that seeks to be effective must come from a collaborative effort from the various interested groups. White Horse Beach is not just a popular public beach, but also a densely populated neighborhood. The Board of Selectmen must work together with the town’s Engineering Department, the Manomet Village Steering Committee, and the numerous White Horse Beach associations to form a coalition to develop a parking plan. The Engineering Department can assist in examining the current conditions of the roads in the area, and the available parking along those roads, and develop responsible changes to the roadways and curbsides to maximize the available parking in those areas. The coalition could also examine solutions such as having satellite parking at Manomet Elementary, supported by a shuttle service that would drop people off and pick them up at regular intervals on or around the property on Taylor Ave that was recently acquired by the town at Town Meeting, to create additional parking for White Horse Beach without burdening the neighborhood with a too much congestion from cars during peak usage times. Such a shuttle service could also potentially be paired with restricting parking on Taylor Ave to approved spaces in appropriate areas alongside it, so as to prevent the area from becoming a parking lot itself. Any solution to the parking problems down by White Horse will require involvement by these various stakeholders, and as a member of the Board of Selectmen I would make sure that all the interested parties were involved in the creation and implementation of any solution there.

What would you do to combat opiate addiction in Plymouth and its effects on the community?

Our town’s opiate epidemic is a major problem that is having a serious impact on our family, friends, and neighbors. We need to take a comprehensive approach to solving this problem by better utilizing mechanisms we already have, creating new methods to help those struggling to overcome addiction, and targeting the supply of these substances into our community. Our town’s first responders are doing a tremendous job saving lives with Narcan, and we need to make sure they have the resources to continue that important work. However, we are currently underutilizing statutes within our court system that provide a viable means of mandating treatment for drug users while allowing them to avoid criminal records, such asMass. Gen. Laws ch. 276A sec. 1-11 and Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 123 sec. 35. These statutes connect addicts with programming without branding nonviolent drug offenders as criminals, keeping their employment and educational prospects open for the future without warehousing them in prisons where they only become more hardened criminals. We need to create new statutes and other mechanisms that provide options for treatment, rather than punishment, for drug users so that they can overcome their dependencies on these illicit substances and become productive members of our society. Lastly, we need to target the sources of the drugs coming into our community and eliminate them so that we can eliminate this blight. This will require us to not only look at drug dealers peddling heroin on the street corner, but also physicians legally prescribing opiates for pain when other less addictive treatments are available. A comprehensive approach is the only way to tackle this, and I am the only candidate qualified to deal with every side of this complicated issue.

What would be your primary goal as a selectman over the next three years?

While I think my education, background, and experience will bring a unique perspective to a variety of issues in our town during my time on the Board, the primary focus of my term on the Board of Selectmen would be to solve our community’s opiate epidemic. I am the only candidate in this race, and if elected would also be the only member of the current Board of Selectmen, who knows what works and what does not work in our current approach to the opiate problem through my firsthand experience with it every day. I can work with the Plymouth Police, the Plymouth County District Attorney’s Office, the judges and probation officers at Plymouth District Court, local treatment programs, and state legislators to both improve our utilization of existing tools for and develop new methods of dealing with this epidemic. We need to treat addicts rather than punish them, and cut off the supply of these substances into our community. We also need to work with local physicians, who currently prescribe narcotics in good faith, because I know that many current heroin addicts began their opiate dependency as a result of medications prescribed to treat injuries and other forms of acute pain. I know what leads to addiction, what works to combat addiction, and what we can do to treat addiction and my perspective is sorely needed on the Board. My primary focus will be making the most of my expertise on this issue that is costing us so many of our family members, friends, and neighbors.

Candidates for board of selectmen can find The Manomet Current’s questions here.

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