The path to winning a citywide election runs through Ward 1 in New Bedford. That is also the home of Parallel Products and a host of political upheaval.

As the election season heats up, the last thing that an incumbent needs is to be publicly linked to a controversial project like Parallel Products. And it appears there are a whole lot of incumbents who supported Parallel Products' movement to the business park in Ward 1.

According to Kiernan Dunlop, a journalist for The Standard-Times, Mayor Jon Mitchell and the members of the 2015 City Council approved a special tax incentive for Parallel Products as an inducement for the company to move to the business park. Today, Mayor Mitchell and the 2019 City Council are opposing the Parallel Products project in the same city business park.

Ward 3 City Councilor Hugh Dunn, who wasn't on the council in 2015, has the Mitchell Administration in his crosshairs.

"I am a bit concerned about the acrobatics this administration is performing right now," he said. "First giving away taxpayer dollars to land the company in the Park, and now spending taxpayer dollars to prevent the business from locating there. It's dizzying and very curious."

Thomas Davis, the former director of the business park, is also angry with the process. According to the Standard-Times, he told the city council, "it's unbelievable they gave this nuisance company financial incentives to move here."

As the process continues forward for Parallel Products to expand in the business park, so does the election process in the city. The people who live in Ward 1 are going to have a large role in who is elected to run the city from the corner office and the council chamber. Depending on the quality of challengers, some incumbents could add "former" to their resumé as an elected official.

Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. 

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