The Ward 2 election pits Pfizer research scientist and former mayoral candidate Stephen Rapundalo (D) against Republican Tom Bourque, a local trial attorney. Though neither candidate has experience in City Council, both are well-rooted members of the community with long records of involvement and strong grasps of matters facing the Council. But with all that’s at stake, its important for students to cast their votes for the candidate they feel can best reflect their rarely voiced and often ignored interests. In this light, Rapundalo is a clear choice.
Rapundalo’s candidacy is backed by years of experience working with local government officials. Rapundalo has already served on multiple municipal advisory commissions, and his efforts at the neighborhood level – mainly through his homeowners association – have exposed him to the gamut of public policy issues facing city government – from zoning restrictions to sewer backups.
Rapundalo authored a recently adopted proposal to create a student committee with City Council, a testimony to both his leadership and enduring commitment to students. The proposal secures space for a permanent student voice on City Council and is anticipated to help thaw tensions between the two bodies. Bourque, unfortunately, doesn’t share his opponent’s eagerness to reach out to students. Though he said he supports the idea of a new committee, he is unconvinced it will be effective in boosting student participation – a reasonable assumption, but one he fails to complement with a solution of his own. Where Rapundalo chose action, crafting his own resolution and successfully billing it to City Council, Bourque chose to tread a much more defeatist path.
A former Republican, Rapundalo’s decision to change party affiliations suggests a capacity for flexible, independent thought and a practical approach to politics. Bourque, on the other hand, has repeatedly emphasized the importance of ideological diversity on the Council, a not-so-subtle allusion to the role his party label would play on the Democrat-dominated City Council.
While of like minds on a number of important issues, the two candidates depart when discussion shifts to students. Rapundalo’s enthusiasm, combined with his history as an advocate for stronger ties between students and the city, eclipse Bourque’s removed, almost indifferent attitude. For the sake of a student body that seems to grow more detached from local politics by the year, this page – without reservations – endorses STEPHEN RAPUNDALO for City Council.