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He’s Back! Radio Personality and Former Councilor Bill Dwight To Run for At-large Council Seat

Radio talk show host Bill Dwight said skills he's honed since he first served on the City Council will serve the city well. (Mary Serreze photo.)

Budget Oversight, Citizen Access to City Government and Respectful Dialogue on the Council Floor Are Among Issues the Former Councilor Says He Will Press if Elected to City-wide Seat.

NORTHAMPTON – Radio talk show host, video store clerk, and former Ward 1 city councilor William “Bill” Dwight announced today that he will run for at-large councilor on the ballot this fall.

Dwight, 55, of Myrtle Street, served from 1996 to 2004 as the city’s Ward 1 councilor.

In a press release issued today, Dwight said he’s ready re-enter elective politics to participate in what he termed “a new era in city government.

“I would like to offer the experience I have had as a four-term councilor and as an observer and an engaged citizen to improve community access and participation,” said Dwight.

He vowed, if elected this November, to “craft sensible and considerate laws and ordinances that are designed by deliberation and thought, and resist laws that are reactive and restrictive and are counter to the spirit of civil liberty.”

He said maintaining good schools and public safety, and repairing the city’s crumbling infrastructure, will be his goals while overseeing the city’s tight budget.

“Thinner Hair and Thicker Skin,” and a Better Listener

The press release mentions Dwight’s having founded the Northampton Youth Commission, facilitated creation of the city’s website, and helped the public process that created King Street zoning for highway business.

Dwight said he will step down next month from his radio show on Valley Free Radio, and would not discuss city issues in the interim. He is also a longtime employee of the Pleasant Street Video store downtown. Prior to his current radio spot, Dwight had a daily radio talk show on WHMP, but left there last year after an internal dispute.

During an interview today with Northampton Media, Dwight said he learned a lot from his eight years on as a ward councilor, when he portrayed himself as a councilor “with a ponytail and an attitude.” Now, he said, he has “thinner hair and thicker skin.”

Also, Dwight said he has developed his listening skills, something he said is crucial when listening to constituents’ complaints or concerns.  It’s important, he said, for constituents to “know for a fact that what they’ve said has registered with you.”

Bill Dwight said he sought imput from the mayor and several current and former city councilors before throwing his hat in the ring. (Bill Dwight photo)

As a councilor, Dwight said he hopes to deliberate respectively and display courage when voting on measures that advance the interests of all city residents.

“I have a skill set that will serve the city pretty well,” said Dwight.

Before he jumped into the race, Dwight said, he conferred with current and former city officials, including Mayor Higgins, Councilors David Narkewicz, Marianne LaBarge and Maureen Carney; and former councilors Alex Ghiselin and Fran Volkmann.

His Opponent, the Mayor’s Race and Facebook

Dwight’s announcement comes three days after council president Narkewicz, who serves at-large, announced he will run for mayor in the Nov. 8 general election. The only other announced candidate for mayor is former council president Michael Bardsley, who lost his 2009 race to unseat longtime incumbent Mayor Mary Clare Higgins.

In a City Hall press conference March 4, Higgins said she would not seek re-election. (See “Mayor Higgins Will Not Run Again.”)

Asked if he would be supporting one of the declared mayoral candidates, Dwight said he likes Narkewicz for the top job.

“Dave Narkewicz is a superb candidate” with all the skills necessary to make a great mayor, Dwight said. “He’s a well-rounded, thoughtful and sensitive candidate” who believes in inclusive and transparent city government, he added.

“He’s the complete package” said Dwight.

Dwight maintains an active Facebook profile with more than 2,100 fans, and has launched a special Facebook page for his campaign; he also said he’s working with a web designer to launch a campaign website.

The other incumbent at-large councilor, first-termer Jesse Adams, announced last week he will run for re-election this fall. Adams also maintains a popular Facebook profile (with almost 1,800 fans) and said he plans to revive a campaign website from 2009. (See”At-large Councilor Adams Seeks Second Term.”)

Adams said Monday he is friends with Dwight and that the two frequently talk about city issues at the video store or on the street. “He’s well-liked and well-known,” said Adams. “I like Bill.”

Other names have surfaced as potential candidates for the two at-large seats, but so far no one has formally announced they will run. The job pays $5,000 a year.

To date, none of the candidate announcements are official. Nomination papers are not yet available at the city clerk’s office, and reportedly won’t be until June. If more than four candidates run for the two at-large seats, it would trigger a Sept. 27, non-partisan preliminary election.

© 2011 Northampton Media

David Reid can be reached at dreid@northamptonmedia.com

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