The special election to succeed recently resigned New Bedford Ward 3 City Councilor Hugh Dunn has brought candidates from varying personal and professional backgrounds who want to bring their unique perspective to the 11-member body.

Robert Cabral, a longtime resident of the city, brings over four decades working in and operating a local small business. Cabral is the owner of Ash Away Hearth and Chimney, a local business that sells custom fireplaces and chimneys and provides masonry and chimney sweep services.

Cabral said that this experience will help him effectively communicate and respond to constituent needs.

"The number one priority I'm hearing is customer service, and when I say customer service, I mean constituent service," Cabral said in a recent appearance on WBSM's SouthCoast Tonight.

Cabral also spent 10 years as an officer in the Army National Guard. He said that his time in the military taught him valuable lessons that will cary over to his service as Ward 3 City Councilor if he's elected.

"The military teaches you discipline," Cabral said. "You're focused. You're a leader. You're in charge. So a good leader is not one that says, 'get going,' a good leader is one that says 'let's go.'"

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On issues that are specific to Ward 3, Cabral said he is supportive of the Advanced Manufacturing Campus that will be built on New Bedford's city-owned golf course, but said there should be more information readily available to the public about how it will impact the surrounding neighborhoods.

Cabral is a resident of the Hicks-Logan neighborhood, which Mayor Jon Mitchell recently classified on SouthCoast Tonight as "the most distressed neighborhood in the city." Cabral said the City government needs to do more to provide foster development to the area.

One of Cabral's signature issues in his campaign is combating the homelessness epidemic in the city. Cabral has written a robust 25-page plan to combat homelessness, which includes converting vacant buildings in Ward 3 and other areas in the city into wrap-around shelters to help ameliorate the lack of shelter for the homeless population.

Cabral said he has worked closely with City Councilor at Large Shane Burgo, who chairs the Council's Affordable Housing and Homeless Affairs Committee, which was recently created at the beginning of the year by City Council President Ian Abreu.

Cabral said Burgo is the type of councilor he would want to emulate if he were elected.

Listen to Robert Cabral's full interview on SouthCoast Tonight.

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