Erin’s Speech Transcript from her Fall Fundraiser
Date Published: October 4, 2023
"Good Evening everyone - my name is Erin Joyce - and I am running for Mayor of Braintree! If you are here and maybe undecided about who to vote for on November 7th, thanks for coming! I look forward to earning your vote - and I do want to EARN your vote. I also look forward to compelling you to vote, to be aware of the issues, to be inspired by our dreams.
A special note of thanks tonight & always goes to my husband Mike and our boys - this has not been an easy path - we did not expect it to be and it’s not over - 36 days until the election - their continued ability to stand by my side and encourage me with hugs, knowing nods and ideas is the foundation of ME.
My campaign team is small but mighty and ever growing - Audrey Andronico, Marty Joyce, Molly Fabiano, Justin Rollo, Jamie Cooper, Bizz - you all are the hardest workers at the best price. Thank you! I’m grateful!
Tonight we are going to start with numbers and IMPACT because numbers always fascinate me, and I think you’ll be fascinated by these ones as well.
38,379 residents in Braintree
26,648 registered braintree voters
9,923 voters in the last mayoral election.
9,923 voters - 26% of residents.
134 votes won the 2019 mayoral election - 67 voters decided that election, had they flipped from one side to the other.
Local Elections and IMPACTFUL and participating in local government, where your home is, is remarkably powerful. By being here tonight, you realize the importance of participating and I hope you share that with everyone you know!
As many of you know - I’m not coming to this with the background of a politician - and I mean that with the utmost respect to those of you who are politicians and are here tonight. I am coming to this with the background of a professional engineer - my profession's moral code is to prioritize the health, safety and welfare of the public. I formulate plans- I’m a professional plan creator!! and I solve problems.
So what is the problem in Braintree?
Braintree is facing a fiscal cliff - and most people have no idea. If you look closely at Braintree’s most recent operating budget you can easily identify a $4.2M gap that is quickly growing. This year the Mayor and Town Councilors plugged the gap with Free Cash (essentially our Town savings account).
What if I also showed you that the gap is projected at $54M by 2029. It’s been there - for several years actually - but it was hidden in the last few years by an influx of state aid from COVID. The gap is not magically going to go away, its getting worse. Its getting worse because expenses are rising - our tax levy growth is capped at 2.5% while inflation is hovering around 6%. It’s getting worse because businesses are bypassing Braintree to locate elsewhere on the South Shore - we’ve seen a downward trend in commercial real estate productivity, we’ve seen a fall off of non-residential building permits (342 in 2019 and now 160 in 2022), we’ve seen our Bond Rating (credit score) fall and we’re tapping into already low Free Cash reserves to pay for basic services. Frighteningly enough - at a recent school committee meeting the incumbent mayor commented about our current free cash level - his comment? ‘our free cash, whatever that number turns out to be in the next month’. That’s a problem. People need to be aware of the problem.
We all KNOW that Braintree is THE gateway to the South Shore with a strong and unique geographically advantaged location in Boston’s regional powerhouse market - why are we not thriving like our neighbors, why are we in this hole? Why don’t we have new public buildings, schools and parks?
Its because we’ve failed to make smart long term planning decisions - leaving us in a perpetual reactionary mode - we have no strategic plan for aging school infrastructure or parks, no strategic plan for closing known budget gaps, no ACTUAL plan to make anything BETTER. The mentality at Town Hall around budget time seems to be ‘what can we live without’ instead of ‘what do we need to thrive’.
Towns budgets are complex but essentially Town’s can increase revenue four ways - new growth and economic redevelopment, bringing in more grant money, local receipts (like meal and excise tax) and real estate taxes - both commercial and residential. If you are not working hard on the first three - like busting your butt working hard, having everyone around you focused on making the Town money and attracting business then you’re, by default, leaving it to the residents and you are cutting services or raising taxes.
I plan to work hard on the first three. I plan on creating an informed economic development team for Town Hall, dedicated to working with established Braintree businesses, broadening Braintree’s network in the regional marketplace and targeting projects that make sense for Braintree. I plan on changing the narrative surrounding development, land use, and public policy to create fiscal stability aligned with a long-range community supported vision. I plan on reviewing the FY23 and FY24 budgets in detail before diving into FY25 budgets to identify places of savings or places where we have underestimated. I plan on sharing my findings with residents and the Council. I plan on hiring a full-time grant writer to target more State and Federal funding for Braintree.
I plan to get to work the day after the election and with a stable fiscal plan we can get to dreaming about - revitalized school buildings and educational programming, modern sports facilities, expanded senior services, and top-notch community programs.
When I announced my candidacy in April, I knew we were taking on a lot - running against an incumbent mayor, who is a lifelong politician with a huge war chest. Some colleagues cautioned me of this challenge maybe worried it was too much too soon, suggested alternative paths, warned me that I had very little name recognition - but someone also asked me if I knew how to eat an elephant - and its one bite at a time.
I’m a hard worker, my team is full of hard workers, insanely creative hard workers and our Town is full of hard workers - and we have an appetite for elephants!
I am asking you this evening for three favors!
- Check on your voting status. Make sure you are all set to vote on November 7th. Make a plan for voting - mark the date in your phone, set an alarm, remind your friends.
- Spread our message. As my kids would say ‘like, subscribe, comment below’ - if you are on social media “like/follow” our Facebook and Instagram pages, share our content. If you are not on social media - I’m jealous! - but call a friend and ask if they know Erin Joyce? Tell everyone - our network of people matters.
- Donate. Before running for office - I never understood how impactful a political donation can be to show support for someone you believe in and I never understood how expensive political campaigns can be. 500 lawn signs cost $3,000, 1 targeted mailer costs over $6,000, digital advertising costs can be upwards of $15,000. Your donation allows us to get our message out there - if you’ve heard ANYONE say "well who is she, i don't know her, whats her plan?" you know exactly why message reach matters.
I think you can see by those gathered here tonight - and listening to the statistics of this campaign - that we are not sit back and watchers - we are workers. I will work hard to get you all the information you need to make informed decisions - starting with my work on the campaign trail. And I will work hard to make Braintree a better place for each one of you to live.
I will show up for you - and I’m bravely asking for you all to show up for me and the Town of Braintree.
Spread our message, tell your friends, share our content on your social media, contribute to the campaign if you are able - but most importantly help bring voters to the polls."