Moultrie’s Short Residency Is Worrisome [OPINION]
Richard Tyson Moultrie took up residence in New Bedford just five months ago and now finds himself on the November ballot as a finalist for mayor. Moultrie, who finished third in the preliminary balloting, was propelled to the top two when Brian Gomes withdrew from consideration to concentrate on his re-election to the city council.
I spent an hour with Moultrie last Friday and was impressed by him. He is intelligent, confident, easy-going and eager to effect change. He has a platform that is outlined on his website for voters to understand the issues he considers important to this race.
Many veteran politicians who snipe from the shadows were are afraid to risk their comfortable incumbencies to take on the popular Jon Mitchell for this first-ever four-year mayoral term. But Moultrie has no incumbency to protect.
Moultrie sees this election less about a challenge to Mitchell and more about what he believes is a need to move New Bedford to a new level. In other words, there is nothing personal here. And that makes Moultrie's candidacy all the more interesting and attractive than say a Tony Cabral, Linda Morad or Brian Gomes candidacy would be.
Tyson Moultrie has lived in New Bedford since May. He owns a home on Rotch Street and has a son enrolled at the Hathaway Elementary School. He is vested. He is also a short-timer. And that is what troubles me.
Moultrie argues that running a city is like running a business. I suspect he is correct. As most of you know, I am a fan of President Trump's business approach to running the country. I believe a business approach can be more effective than a political approach. I'm not sure I agree with all of Moultrie's ideas but I like that he is willing to listen to all sides.
If Moultrie is going to be successful in November, he has to let people know he is here. It's a tough thing to do when there is so little interest in the political process locally. The second and to me most important thing Moultrie must do is convince people that he is not carpetbagger or a candidate in search of a kingdom.
New Bedford has a unique and interesting history. Those who fail to embrace and understand that history, and I am not just talking Mellville here, run the risk of offending the locals. We are a clannish bunch and very protective of our identity. Being perceived as an outsider could be detrimental to Moultrie.
Perhaps Moultrie should have considered a run for city council first before heading straight for the top. Perhaps not. Perhaps people are ready to hand over the keys to someone new who has no connection and little knowledge of our past. Perhaps Moultrie is just what is needed at just the right time. We're about to find out.
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.