When it comes forging compromise and bringing together parties, Claire Cronin is an expert.
After all, that's what she does every day.
"As part of my background I’ve been a mediator for 10 years," she said. "Often times when you sit back and you watch what goes on in government. As a mediator sometimes I see that there's ways things can be done that they’re not being done – both on a national level and on the state level."
Cronin is hoping her skills as a mediator and experience as a public servant help get her elected as a State Representative in the 11th Plymouth District, which makes up Precincts 1-5 in Easton and all of Ward 1, Ward 3-D, Ward 7-C and 7-D in Brockton.
A native of Brockton and current resident of Easton, Cronin is squaring off in a Sept. 6 Democratic Primary against Southeastern Regional School Committee Chair and Brockton City Councilors and .
The winner will face Republican in a Nov. 6 general election.
The candidates are seeking to replace Geraldine Creedon (D-Brockton), who announced earlier this year that
"I’ve always had a great interest in government and politics," Cronin said. "I was a Political Science major and I’ve already been very involved in the community in other ways.
"At this point in my life, my children are older and I think I could dedicate a lot more time to it. It’s not a part time job for me. I think it’s something that you have to take on full time."
Cronin has lived in Easton for the past 12 years, but was born and raised in Brockton. The niece of former Brockton mayor C. Gerald Lucey, she graduated from Brockton High in 1978 and commuted to where she earned a Political Science degree in 1982.
She earned her law degree from Suffolk University Law School in 1985.
While she said her work as a mediator could be a substantial tool to bring legislators together on Beacon Hill, she also feels her connection to the communities of Brockton and Easton could bring constituents together.
"I’ve spent the majority of my life living in Brockton but I’ve lived in Easton now for over 12 years and I’ve raised my children here," she said. "I’ve been involved in the schools here. I was a long-time volunteer in the schools and on the Board in Easton so I’ve been in the Frothingham Family 'Y' and now on the Board.
"So, I’m deeply ingrained and have an understanding of both communities. My law practice is in Brockton so I’m in the courts in Brockton. I think when you’re in the courtrooms and the classrooms you get a real sense of the health of your community and a good understanding of what is going on in the community."
Both "education" and "public safety" are key points in Cronin's campaign platform, along with "jobs and the economy" and "seniors."
"Whenever you talk about schools you’re always looking for small class size," she said. "You’re looking for innovative technology in the classroom. I know one of our goals being on the FEEE Board is we want to make all of the schools wireless by the end of next year. So, whenever you’re advancing forward, your schools will benefit."
While knocking on doors, she said most residents feel the economy is the number one issue.
Getting the economy moving has a lot to do with expanding business and education, she said.
"When I’m meeting people and speaking with people in the area, I speak about the two things I think are most important, which are growing business and the importance of education," she said. "I think to build a strong community you have to have a good strong business community and strong schools. With those two things the community is strong."
While growing business is important, Cronin said she recognizes that it is important to preserve open space and history in the Shovel Town.
"I think Easton does a really good job at that – at preserving history and open space in town," she said. "The Shovel Shop project is probably a good example of that."
A compromise between the City of Brockton and the Town of Easton when it comes to wastewater treatment could be beneficial in growing business, she said.
Many businesses have difficulty opening their doors in Easton because of the lack of an appropriate sewage system.
"If you could come to some sort of agreement to bring the Town of Easton and the City of Brockton relative to reginonalization on sewer, it would help in attracting business to Easton where that history has been a problem," she said. "At the same time it would be a benefit to the city of Brockton. Brockton has the capacity and Easton has the need. It seems it could be a marriage made in heaven. Of course, it would have to be something that is beneficial to both areas."
One are of development she said she would not like to see in Easton is the South Coast Rail.
"I think it will have a great impact on the town itself due to the multiple crossings," she said. In Brockton the train was elevated. That being said, if the train was coming through, we’d have to work to mitigate."
Whether it be fostering a business-freindly environment, promoting education or building the economy, Cronin feels she can bring the people of Brockton and Easton together.
"We are one community – this district," she said. "And, the ability to develop and foster relationships between the two communities will be beneficial to both."
Editor's Note: This is the fourth in a series profiling all of the 11th Plymouth District State Rep candidates. Previously, we profiled , and . Keep an eye out for future profiles. The four democratic candidates and all five candidates are blogging on Patch.
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