The economy has inevitably had its ups and downs over the past few years but what remains constant is that if communities don’t keep up with the changing landscape then they are susceptible to falling behind. It is here that Lynn can and will do better.

We have not rebounded quite as quickly from the recession of 2008-2009 that we would have hoped—a Lynn resident’s median income of around $45,000 per year is still only two thirds of the median for all of Massachusetts and weekly wages in Lynn have only grown 16.8% from 2004 to 2014 which isn’t enough to even keep pace with inflation.

In order to fix this, we need to provide legitimate work opportunities for Lynn residents at companies residing in Lynn so that the citizens as well as the city itself can all benefit from the advantages that more thriving businesses can bring. It’s a simple concept but requires a concentrated vision for the future of the city in order to make it a reality.

That’s precisely why our immediate focus must be on developing a City Planning office that can take ownership of this mission. We’ve seen cities around the North Shore build out their City Planning departments and many are starting to reap the benefits of those efforts—Lynn must take advantage of this best practice as well. Our city is filled with hard workers, but we can’t work towards a unified vision until it is made transparent for all of us to see.

An integral part of our shared vision has to be making it easier for businesses to get started and proceed to grow in Lynn. In today’s cutthroat economy, minimizing the time it takes a business to get off the ground and start to generate revenue is crucial. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, this time to market is significantly longer in Lynn than it is in surrounding areas which has made it more difficult for us to attract businesses and investments. We must address this discrepancy through examination of our business application process and zoning laws to ensure that Lynn is poised for long-term economic growth in the future.

Attracting new investments will be critical to our success as a city, but we must also retain our focus on some of the great companies already in and around Lynn that have provided our community with opportunities for years. Some of the area’s large industrial companies like General Electric fit perfectly into this plan because they have a need for skilled workers that we can start to fill through our Education initiatives. We must continue to tap the resources that have historically helped Lynn succeed.

Re-establishing relationships like these will not only bring jobs, but also provide real examples to interested investors of how great of a place Lynn is to be a part of. Through a combination of new investments and old partnerships we will be able to get Lynn back on track to be an economically vibrant, thriving city. That is a vision we can all get behind and one we will work hard to put into motion through coordination with the incoming City Planning office.