Ward 4 candidate profiles: Incumbent Karen McNamara and Sarah Beauregard

By JAMIE L. COSTA

Monitor staff

Published: 10-29-2023 12:53 PM

Incumbent Ward 4 Councilor Karen McNamara moved to Concord 16 years ago for its small city charm and outdoor recreation. She wants another term on the City Council to strengthen what the community has to offer.

Sarah Beauregard, who was born and raised in Concord, thinks it’s time for a change. Her professional experience in both education and the healthcare industry will help make Concord a place where young professionals want to live and stay, she said.

“I hope to help the community develop into a more amazing place for my children to grow up and hopefully, they stay,” she said.

If reelected, McNamara said she will continue her dedication to expanding the city’s tax base, developing more affordable housing to help the unhoused population, and investing in public safety to retain and recruit police officers, she said.

Despite a growing tax burden on residents, she said cutting city spending was the wrong approach.

“Not once has a constituent asked to have services eliminated. Instead, people ask for more services and recreational opportunities,” McNamara said. “The city’s job is to provide all citizens a quality of life, outstanding infrastructure and we must be very thoughtful to provide economic development where density allows for it without harming our quality of life.”

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For Beauregard, retaining police officers, creating more affordable housing in the city and encouraging the use of parks, rivers and trails throughout the city are at the forefront of her campaign.

“I think the city of Concord faces a number of issues within the aspect of affordable housing,” she said. “We need to expand and improve our existing housing and there is a need for reasonable parking requirements in Ward 4 with our congestion in our streets.”

With both Concord Hospital and Concord High School in Ward 4, both candidates agreed that furthering the Langley Parkway Extension project would help reduce congestion on streets like Washington, Bradley and Walker.

“Arteries are being clogged and with the traffic, the speed, the kids coming from Concord High School and Bishop Brady and the hospital, it’s just tearing up our neighborhoods on streets that are already narrow and unsafe,” McNamara said. “We are becoming more dense, we are building more and we want to provide more housing. I think there needs to be a discussion around putting the parkway in and we are going to have to have that discussion with all wards.”

When asked about diversifying the city and identifying city leaders, both candidates commented on their volunteer work with the community and nonprofits as ways to connect with residents.

“It’s important as leaders and volunteers to look around that table and think about who might be missing from this table that has a really good voice and has something they can add to this participation,” McNamara said. “The city is doing a better job and there might be someone in the community that is super into composting or wants downtown dining to change. Come to a committee meeting with us, we want to hear from you.”

Beauregard, who is raising her four children in Concord, said her choice to run for Ward 4 councilor was to give back to the community that raised her. In working to develop the community, she hopes to make Concord a place where young people want to invest and grow their families.

“My goal has always been to be a strong example for my children, which is part of why I’m running,” Beauregard said. “I grew up in this city, it’s great.”

McNamara said it’s clear everyone wants the best for Concord.

“I will continue with my priorities,” McNamara said. “Supporting public safety through recruitment and retention is very important to me, expanding the tax base while holding the line on property taxes, and fostering a community of belonging and inclusiveness.”

Go online to watch the Monitor’s ward-by-ward candidate forum.