2018 Lynn Journal Man of the Year:Mayor Thomas McGee

Tom McGee moved the city of Lynn forward as a state representative and state senator, earning the respect of his

Mayor Tom McGee is pictured in his office at Lynn City Hall.

colleagues on Beacon Hill and the admiration of his constituents in this city and district where the McGee family has an unmatched record of public service.

His father, the late Thomas W. McGee, was elected Speaker of the Mass. House in 1975 and would serve in that immensely powerful position in state government until 1985.

“I remember how proud we were of him, the excitement of him having reached the pinnacle in terms of serving in the House of Representatives,” said McGee, who was 19 when his father was elected to lead the esteemed body. “It was a great time when he served as Speaker. Both my parents were really an inspiration to me to be in public service.”

The next year at the age of 20, Tom McGee was elected to the Democratic State Committee. He would become the Chairman of the State Democratic Party years later.

In 2017, Tom McGee made a decision to run for Mayor of Lynn, challenging a popular, two-term incumbent, Judith Flanagan Kennedy.

True to his long-established work ethic, Tom McGee put together a team of spirited volunteers, many of whom had supported him through the years. The campaign was brilliantly engineered and managed. It accentuated the positive and laid out his plans to make Lynn an even greater place to live and work. Tom McGee claimed a decisive victory on Election Night, becoming mayor of the largest city on the North Shore.

For his years of distinguished public service, for uniting a city and moving it forward, for continuing his family’s legacy and maintaining the priority of making a difference and helping people on a daily basis, and for setting Lynn on a path that is brimming with optimism and poised for greatness – Mayor Tom McGee is the Lynn Journal’s 2018 Man of the Year.

 

Taking office as

Lynn’s chief executive

Being mayor of a city is not an easy job. There are major, life-affecting decisions to be made, development projects to plan and implement, and day-to-day issues, that mean everything to the person seeking assistance. Take potholes, for example, and the point is made that residents expect excellence in every phase of city operations.

On his second day as mayor, a major snowstorm struck the city. There was a major fire in a Broad Street apartment building a few days later.

“With the real financial challenges confronting the city as well, I came to realize the importance of the job and how there are so many different things you face every day,” said McGee. “And you’re making some really tough decisions that people may not agree with, but you have to do what you believe is right, which I’ve always tried to do during my career.”

Many accomplishments

and key appointments

There have been numerous accomplishments in his first year of office and some high-level appointments to positions of leadership. The city is collaborating with the Collins Center at UMass/Boston to put together a five-year capital improvement plan. Lynn is working with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council to create a fully developed city planning department.

The city hired a full-time chief financial officer, Michael Bertino. Stephen Archer was named chief of the Lynn Fire Department. Dr. Patrick Tutwiler was named superintendent of Lynn public schools.

McGee said he meets weekly with his economic development team and monthly with the Lynn state delegation (State Sen. Brendan Crighton, Reps. Dan Cahill, and Rep.-Elect Peter Capano).

“There is $225 million in investments that will be happening over the next couple of years,” McGee said proudly. “We have the new Lynn YMCA project, the KIPP Academy in the old Blood Building, the Munroe Street project is moving forward and the Beacon Chevrolet site is going to be breaking ground next year.

“So all of those projects have been exciting opportunities, and we’re working to continue that,” said McGee. “By seeing those successful projects happen, it really has allowed a lot of people to focus on Lynn and what we have here is a great opportunity.”

Brew on the Grid, Revolution Pie and Pint, and One Mighty Mill are the latest businesses to open in the city. The Beyond Walls Mural Festival, part of a successful venture that has invigorated the downtown arts and cultural district, will return in August. The city has been awarded a $350,000 grant for the Complete Streets program, which will enhance car, pedestrian, and bicycle access in the city. A $59 million federal grant for infrastructure projects on Western Avenue to Center Street, and Essex Street to Eastern Avenue to the Fayette Fire Station, and the Euclid Avenue/Jenness Street area has been approved.

The city is working with a consultant and MIT graduate urban planning students to update a waterfront master plan.

“They actually rebranded the area around the Saugus River as the ‘Western Waterfront,” which I thought was an interesting dynamic, some outside-the-box thinking,” said McGee.

The city has signed a contract to make all city streetlights LED lighting. The installation of the new lights will begin in January, resulting in more than $400,000 in savings for the city.

Enhancements to the foyer at Lynn City Hall were unveiled on Veterans Day.

“We want to upgrade this beautiful building – it really is the people’s building and we want to make sure that generations to come can enjoy and recognize the commitment of those World War II veterans who served our country,” said McGee. “Next year will be the 70th anniversary of Lynn City Hall.”

The Lynn City Hall Auditorium continues to be a very popular venue for shows. More than 80,000 people attended shows in 2018. The auditorium will be hosting movie nights for “Selma” and “Harold and Maude” in January at a cost of only $3 per person.

A supportive family

Mayor McGee and his wife, Maria, have two children, Katherine, a student at Villanova, and Thomas, a student at UMass/Amherst.

“I couldn’t do this job without them,” said McGee. “We were six months married (in 1994) and I was running for state rep, so she has been an amazing partner and supporter, and I absolutely couldn’t do it without her. I’m blessed to have two healthy and wonderful children, who are always supportive. My brothers and my sister have always been there for me as well.”

He also noted the support and diligence of an exceptional Mayor’s Office team, including Chief of Staff Meaghen Hamill, Deputy Chief of Staff Robin Ennis, Community Relations Coordinator Michael Cole, and Communications and Outreach Coordinator Elizabeth Gervacio.

Mayor McGee said he has outstanding partners in city government in the men and women who serve on the Lynn City Council and Lynn School Committee. He looks forward to continuing that effective collaboration in 2019.

Congratulations, Mayor McGee

City officials weighed in with congratulatory wishes upon learning that Mayor McGee had received the Lynn Journal Man of the Year Award.

Said State Sen. Brendan Crighton, who worked on McGee’s state legislative staff for 13 years: “I knew him before as a person, got to know him as a boss and as a legislator, and we’ve become really close friends over the years. He was the right person for this job to lead this city, and in one year he’s really put us on a great path to realize our full opportunity as a city. I’m pumped to see him getting some recognition, but he’ll tell you himself that there’s a lot more work to do, so this is just a start.”

James Cowdell, executive director of the Economic Development and Industrial Corporation of Lynn, also congratulated the mayor, calling it an outstanding choice for the award.

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