March 27, 2023, Press Release: Dan Epstein is running for the Gloucester City Council from Ward II this fall. Dan is a resident of Perkins Street, where he lives with his wife Jasmine, and his daughter Freya, a student at Veterans’ School. He grew up in Massachusetts and Vermont, and after receiving his bachelor’s degree and then a PhD in Government from Harvard, he has taught political science, economics, and history at the college level for the past 15 years, and currently is back teaching at Harvard. He also works as a bartender, and is an active member of the Temple Ahavat Achim synagogue congregation. He has always been passionate about the common good of his community, and been involved with community activities (like park clean-ups during the pandemic) and politics. He also worked on a presidential campaign as an organizer, and even ran for US Congress when he lived in a district in Texas where one else would challenge the incumbent.
“I love the city of Gloucester, and know I am lucky to live here. Ward II citizens deserve a strong voice to speak up for our neighborhoods and make sure that the legislation our City Council produces will not only give good results for the whole city, but preserve and improve quality of life in our part of town. Many issues the Council must confront are complex and require keen analysis and creative approaches. Understanding and tackling such policy issues is a task that years of training have prepared me for. I am ready to use that training and to draw on the opportunities and experiences I’ve had in order to serve the citizens of Gloucester in a role where I feel I can really be of use.
“In particular, I’m most concerned about housing, our local economy of small businesses, and our quality of life. There’s a shortage of housing in Gloucester, and that has driven prices through the roof—for rentals as well as buying. Many of the younger people I work with when bartending have little hope of being able to stay in the city where they grew up and actually have their own places someday. This is a danger to our community’s future. We need to be proactive about not only regulations, but local initiatives to improve the affordability of housing. We need to ensure the quality of our housing stock is maintained at the same time, and not cannibalized by trends eating away at available housing units, and at the same time embrace smart growth policies. We cannot just allow the vagaries of the real estate market and state-level initiatives determine the future of Gloucester’s housing: we must shape it ourselves.
“Housing is also connected to our local economy—I want to see fewer empty store-fronts on Main Street, and up at Gloucester Crossing as well. Part of the problem is that people who might work in such businesses can barely afford to live in our town, and even the businesses that are succeeding are still challenged by finding workers. There needs to be a voice on City Council that will call for creative ideas to attract more small businesses and help those that are already here to flourish. The fishing industry is part of this, as fishermen are businessmen, too, and the Ward II councilor in particular has a responsibility for stewarding the docks and the harbor, and for asking hard questions about what the city government can do to ensure this important aspect of our history has a bright future, as well. Economic trends and national and international regulations present enough challenges to the fishing industry; at the municipal level fishmen need to know there is someone in their corner.
“The same is true for all the people of Ward II, and the quality of life in our neighborhoods. We have some great advantages because of proximity to schools, the library and museum, the Commuter Rail, and downtown. But our location brings certain challenges that can erode our quality of life. We need clean, well-paved streets and well-maintained parks, from Green Street playground to the park in the Fort, and particularly Burnham’s Field, in the heart of Ward II, where my daughter plays after school. Shopping carts, nip bottles, and other unsightly items and offensive graffiti are often seen in our streets and parks. But we deserve as beautiful neighborhoods in the center of town as anywhere else, and we need to think outside the box about ways to confront these challenges, some of which are linked to public safety issues. In Gloucester we are lucky to depend on the most excellent police force, as well as a top quality firefighting team, and a critical (and busy) Department of Public Works. Ensuring these are all well-resourced and well-managed is a solemn duty of the City Council, and a responsibility I am prepared to use all of my energy, passion, and training to help fulfill.
“Gloucester is a special, beautiful, one-of-a-kind town. Its location is second-to-none, and its people are warm, diverse, rich in history, savvy, and tough—this is how my wife and I knew, of all the places we’ve lived and traveled, that this would be the right place to settle, to raise our family. Ward II especially has a history of tough, savvy, and effective ward councilors over the years. I have the passion, the energy, and the diligence to serve the people of Ward II going forward. We need to continue that pattern of toughness through coming challenges and changes to policy, the economy, our society and even our natural environment, that will require careful consideration and effective teamwork within the city council to preserve our heritage and also guarantee our future.”
A number of Ward II residents have expressed their support for Dan. Bernadette Merenda said “I’m supporting Dan because I know he will make well-informed choices that will benefit Ward II and the city of Gloucester.”
“To all my Ward II neighbors, as a longtime resident, I would ask that you join me in supporting Daniel Epstein for city council representing Ward II. In my opinion Dan will be great representing our needs in the neighborhood and our city.” David Leveille, Fisheries Sector Manager, Sector II, Northeast Fishery Sector, Inc.
Bob Alves, member of the Gloucester Waterways Board, lives next door to Dan and his family and gave his assessment: “I see in Dan an intelligent, pragmatic, engaging, community leader. Someone who views the importance of our future via the lens of a committed husband and father. Having Dan as my neighbor, I can assure the Ward II community we will be beneficiaries of Dan’s abilities and values if we elect him as our city councilor.”
“As a Ward II resident, I really support Dan because I know he’ll do a good job listening to the needs of the diverse community we have here in Ward II and supporting the community,” said Maiuza Alves, member of the Gloucester Human Rights Commission.
Dan will be coming door-to-door in Ward II in the coming weeks to talk to residents, hear their concerns for the neighborhood, and ask them for their vote.