The Sound’s 2015 Somersworth City Council Voter’s Guide: Jessica Paradis

Jessica Paradis

Jessica Paradis

For an At-Large seat: Jessica Paradis
Age: 42
Years living in Somersworth: 17
Occupation: Educator/activist
Prior public service experience: School board (vice chair); board member, Brixham Montessori Friends School; vice chair, Sexual Assault Support Services; co-chair, Porchlight Award; member, state commission to study sexual abuse prevention education.

In the next two years, what do you think is the most important thing the council can do to build and support vitality in downtown?
We need to keep the momentum going!  Lots of great things are happening here in Somersworth, especially downtown. As a city council, we need to continue supporting improvements to the downtown/businesses areas to promote economic growth and an increasing interest in Somersworth’s unique shops and restaurants. I’m always promoting the patronage of these businesses and events. Somersworth is a happening place!

What should the city’s priorities be for future capital improvement projects in the community?
There is a specifically detailed capital improvement plan (CIP) with a five year time-line for the city. The city’s priorities for capital improvement projects is to balance getting projects on this CIP plan done at all department levels so that no area of the city’s needs are ignored and that all priorities are addressed. We need to maintain the value of what we have and commit to move the city forward, while being as fiscally conservative as possible.

Would you be willing to support a tax cap override while developing city budgets? Why or why not?
Yes, I would if it meant that the safety or education of our citizens were to be compromised. Quite simple, we need what we need to keep people safe and well-informed in a community. Our priority is taking care of people in the city while watching pennies. We’ve done that in Somersworth for the past four years I’ve been on the school board. I was very proud to be a resident here when I watched this past year’s final budget discussion and saw how passionately every councilor felt about doing their very best to develop and pass a responsible budget and meet the needs of our city.

How can officials best address the opioid addiction epidemic that’s affecting the city and the region?
We have to stop the bleeding by supporting local treatment centers so people with addictions can get proper medical care, including therapy to find out why they are using and stop the cycle of self-destruction. We also need to teach kids age-appropriate prevention education as part of a health and wellness curriculum with evidence-based programs, as well as provide them with positive alternatives to substance use. We are doing a lot of that here in Somersworth at all of our schools, but we need to do more for our teens, who have a lot of free time on their hands and the twenty-somethings who were introduced to this lifestyle as teens.

What is the most recent cultural event you attended in Somersworth?
The Somersworth Pumpkin Festival — it was a big feat this year! I love the fact that we have the most diverse population, per capita, in the state. I try to bring my family to all cultural events in the city. I’m very proud of what my kids are learning about diversity here in Somersworth. This is a great place to raise a family.

What are the most important issues facing the city that no one is talking about right now?
The most important issue that no one is talking about is sustaining the progress we have made in the city, and moving forward, while meeting the very real financial needs of our aging population.