WORCESTER – Matt Wally sees many needs to be met in Worcester’s District 5. From public parks to streets and sidewalks, and from playing fields to public safety, Wally feels there’s room for improvement all over.
With current District 5 City Councilor Gary Rosen making a bid for an At-Large city council seat, Wally is one of four preliminary candidates vying to fill the void of Rosen’s departure.
In an interview with ThisWeekinWorcester on Aug. 24, Wally said, “I think like most decisions in my life, what I look at is what’s the need and can I fit that need. This time around, obviously with Gary not running, there’s a need in District 5.”
“I think I have the skill set to serve the district well. There is a need, and I can fill that need. So that’s why I’m running,” Wally added.
Wally, 42, a lifelong resident of Worcester, is a graduate of Burncoat high school and the College of the Holy Cross. He serves as Vice President of Government & Community Affairs with UniBank for Savings.
Wally lives at 61 Berwick St.. with his wife, Katie Bagdis Wally – a partner at Mountain Dearborn LP in Worcester.
With the preliminary election just a week away, Wally feels that he’s done enough to garner the necessary votes to move onto the municipal election in November.
“I’m confident that I’ve been doing the work I need to do. I’m confident that I went into the campaign with a really strong plan. It’s been a very typical Worcester campaign with support from family and friends. I give a lot of credit to my wife who has been going to door to door with me and strategizing with me from the start,” Wally said.
“I went into the campaign with a plan, and I said all I need to do is follow this plan, not get distracted, and not get into any arguments on current issues being debated in the council,” he added.
One issue that Wally believes needs to be addressed immediately is the district’s infrastructure, particularly its streets and sidewalks.
Wally said, “I would say infrastructure needs are huge in the district. Streets and sidewalks need to be improved. There are a number of streets in the district without sidewalks. It’s a huge public safety problem with students walking to school.
“Some of the roads look terrible. The curbs are crumbling. I see this as an opportunity to see what I can do as a district councilor to fight for funding to make these improvements in the district.”
When asked if he thought that his position with UniBank would potentially interfere with his duties as a city councilor, Wally said, “It’s not going to affect it at all. Serving as a councilor, the main priority is constituent services. A lot of that is returning phone calls and emails as soon as possible. In addition to that, a lot of the work as a councilor is after normal work hours. There’s flexibility to go to any committee meetings.”
One thing Wally has no problem missing out on due to work? Ribbon cuttings.
“I have attended many ribbon cuttings in my life. I think people won’t be disappointed if an elected official doesn’t attend a ribbon cutting during the day. No one is going to mind not hearing one more elected official speak or see them in a photo at a ribbon cutting,” Wally said.
He added, “My main priorities are constituent services, being well informed, understanding the agenda items prior to the council meetings, speaking with residents and attending neighborhood meetings.”
Aside from his work at UniBank, Wally serves as a Director of the Greater Worcester Community Foundation, a Steering Committee member for the Worcester Tree Initiative, and as member of the City of Worcester’s Parks and Recreation Commission.
It’s in his role with the Parks Commission that Wally has seen some great opportunities for residents in District 5.
“In the last year on the commission, we’ve approved dog parks and seen them begin to open recently. In a few weeks, the Beaver Brook dog park will open. I would like to see the development of a dog park at Boynton Park. We’re looking at a master plan of major improvements at Hadwen Park.
“The lack of rectangular playing fields in the district and across the city is a big issue. As more and more teams are formed, there needs to be the availability of more playing fields. That’s what I would like to see get done if I’m elected,” Wally said.
If Wally does win the District 5 seat in November, he said he will define his success in his first term by being able to define the issues that the residents in the district care about and making sure those issues are a priority for his administration.
However, he said, his focus right now is on the preliminary election on Sept. 12, and he has a game plan in place for how he’s going to get out the vote.
Wally said, “There are several things I’m planning on doing. Anytime you have a preliminary election that isn’t city-wide, it’s important to make sure that you get your supporters to the polls. I’ll be offering to give rides to the people that need rides to the poll, and going to the doors and making calls to my supporters to remind them to vote.”
“And of course, my supporters and I will be visible in the district going to each polling location,” he added.
Wally said he has positioned himself well enough to be one of the top two vote getters in next week’s preliminary.
“There’s always that feeling on the weekends where you’re knocking on doors for six or seven hours, that you could’ve knocked on even more. No matter what, in everything I’ve done I’ve tried to give 110%. This campaign is no different. I feel as if I’ve been working very hard. As of now, I feel as though I’ve done what I set out to do to be in the mix for this coming preliminary,” Wally said.
For more information on Matt Wally, visit his website: WallyforWorcester.com.