Over the last few years, New Bedford has seen historic progress. Our unemployment rate has been reduced by two-thirds; our schools are turning around and are making marked gains across the board; crime has dropped significantly; major public projects have come on line across the city, and municipal government has become more effective and accountable. Together we — you and I — have worked hard to build a stronger, more confident city.
The most important point we should heed from our accomplishments is this: decline is not inevitable. For a city that has suffered job loss and capital flight for decades after the Great Depression, and all the ills that came with them, it had been tempting to assume that there’s nothing we can do about the general trajectory of our city.
We rejected that passive way of thinking. We decided to act. Together we’ve worked hard to achieve something that so many other older industrial cities haven’t managed to do: we have reversed course.
Our job now is to pursue an upward, more sustainable course, toward a city that can compete successfully in an ever changing global economy; that can protect and support the safety and well-being of its residents; that can offer an excellent education to its children; that can provide effective government services that are affordable to taxpayers, and that can nurture a quality of life that attracts people to the city and offers everyone an opportunity to pursue the American Dream.