Chicopee Mayor Richard Kos will not run for office again when his term ends.
Mayor Kos made the announcement on his birthday Monday, in a news conference on the Chicopee City Hall steps, stating that he plans to return to his law practice when his term ends.
Kos first served as Mayor of Chicopee from 1997 to 2004. He returned to office in 2013 and most recently, was re-elected in November 2017 when he ran unopposed. In total, Kos ran for mayor and was elected a total of seven times.
The next mayor will be elected in November of 2019.
Kos said in a news release, he ran again in 2013 because he wanted to make Chicopee a better city, and his priority is not to get re-elected but to do what was right for Chicopee.
City Councilor Joel McAuliffe sent 22News this statement:
“Six years ago, Richard Kos gave me the opportunity to serve the City we both love. For three years I had the chance to serve as his Communications and Special Projects Manager, working beside him to improve Chicopee.
I am grateful for his years of service to the city and personally, I’m grateful for his mentorship. In Chicopee, we are all one big family. There are highs and lows, and sometimes we disagree, despite that fact, we all share one goal — a better Chicopee.
Mayor Richard Kos leaves a legacy as the longest serving Mayor in our city’s history. I wish him, his family, and his wife Gina nothing but the best in retirement and look forward to working with him and the rest of our citizens to build an even better Chicopee in the future.”
Kos said he was proud of his work as mayor, and how he accomplished all that he did. He also thanked his friends, office staff, and wife.
“Though I might miss the highs and lows of running this great city, I know that I have created a model for work, communication, and cooperation, that truly gets things done. And I hope that those that come into this office achieve even greater accomplishments after me,” said Kos.
Read Mayor Kos’ full statement here:
Nearly six years ago, I announced my intention to run – again – for Mayor of the City of Chicopee. I threw my hat in the ring at that time because I wanted to do what I did the first time I was Mayor – to make a better Chicopee.
Quite honestly, although I didn’t really think I could do as many big things as I did the first time – like building the two new high schools, the new fire station and the new library and increasing the city’s cash reserves to over $10 million – I did think that I could still make a better Chicopee – but in a different way.
That different way was working together – with the City Council – with a shared enthusiasm for success. I am proud to say today – that that different way worked – and created so many accomplishments in these three terms.
I ran both times with a promise of integrity. Six years ago, our city needed it more than ever. Residents and business partners deserve transparency and should see how and where their tax dollars are spent.
One of my first actions was to have televised Mayoral Briefings – and I have held many other meetings to share information with the councilors and with the public.
When I assumed office, our Police Department was in turmoil. With public safety being a main priority – I was able to hire not only a new police chief, but also many more officers. Technology has been greatly enhanced with cameras and Tasers and efficiencies. I am especially proud of our canine unit – and just recently authorized approval for two more police dogs.
A new Fire Chief was also appointed – as well as new firefighters. Ambulances were upgraded and important apparatus was acquired.
Just as important to the city’s success was the work that has been done in the past five years in the area of public education. The city’s contributions to our schools has increased. We have continued to build and improve infrastructure with 80% state reimbursement. We have utilized local talent – namely the Mruk Committee – to offer out of the box, creative ideas to long standing issues. We are now pursuing consolidated leadership with IT, Facilities Management and possible Human Resources.
When I took office this second time, our city was in disrepair. Pools were leaking faster than we could fill them – and City Hall was literally crumbling. We attended to these deferred maintenance issues – and many others. We now have two fully functioning outdoor municipal pools and are able to utilize two Olympic sized pools at our new high schools. We are restoring and improving a Safety Complex which will serve our City for generations to come. And this building behind me – which serves to symbolize not only this City’s past – but our future – will be restored as an efficient community hub open to all to use and enjoy.
We’ve improve our parks with investments at Szot, River, Ash, Wisniowski, Nash and Sarah Jane – with more to come.
We’ve created solar farms, continue to work to repurpose Uniroyal and soon, we will have our first Dog Park. We’ve supported more programming at our Senior Center, as well as new vehicles and new events.
Library structures have been replaced by a bookmobile which allows every section of our city and even our parks to be a branch serving young and old alike.
Our planning efforts have been greatly increased – as well as our grant development efforts – to not only create and shape our dreams but to help them become reality that much sooner.
There are many many successes that I can point to that have happened in the past six years, including:
- Executing seven modifications in 5 years to an untenable EPA consent decree for our sewer separation mandate – to make it fair for all;
- Implementing a waste/recycling program that has been virtually seamless to offset the closing of our landfill;
- Debate and delays over smart water meters have been resolved with an unprecedented level of cooperation between the city and the Chicopee Electric Light with $8 million of bonding avoided;
- Municipal internet is being implemented in a manner which serves the customer while respecting the ratepayer;
All of this – and so much more – has been done to make Chicopee a better place to live, work and raise a family. And all of this was done because we worked together.
And working together included working with our business community. We have been able to remain a tax-friendly city offering an array of free municipal services for our citizens because of our local businesses – and many of them stepped up even more when we asked for their help in sponsoring city events – like the Downtown Getdown,
Christmas Lighting, Halloween Walk, Bright Nights Bus Tours and Summer Movie Nights.
It was great to welcome Mercedes Benz and Tru Hotels, as well as celebrate existing businesses as they expanded such as Callaway and Tsubacki. And it’s not just businesses we developed – Downtown Kendall, with its 41 units of revitalized housing has opened and soon we will be welcoming hundreds of new residents as they move into:
- Lyman Mills and its 110 units of downtown housing; and
- Cabotville and its 590 units of downtown housing.
Working together works.
All the accomplishments I just cited resulted from trusted partnerships, sustained communication and shared goals.
I am thankful for the efforts of the majority of the City Councilors who have shared my vision for a better Chicopee by doing what is right for our city and our citizens.
I am also grateful for the friendship and state resources brought to the table by Representative Joe Wagner and the rest of our delegation. The Baker/Polito administration has also been a true partner in furthering our successes as well.
With that, I am here today to announce that I will not be seeking another term in office.
I am not a career politician and never even thought of myself as a politician at all. My candidacy for and tenure as Mayor has always been based upon the belief that you don’t have to be a politician to make this political process work. I brought private sector experience and a
passion for the city I have called home for over six decades to this Office – and working together – it made a difference.
Many elected officials have a priority of getting re-elected – but with my law practice waiting for my return – my priority was just to do what was right. So as I make this announcement today, I can say that I’m proud of not only all that has been done – but how it was done.
Now I will go back to my law practice, just like I did before. And though I will miss the highs and lows of running this great city, I know that I have created a model for work, communication and cooperation that truly gets things done – and I hope that those that come to this office achieve even greater accomplishments.
I would be remiss if I didn’t take this time to thank all of my supporters who have helped me – all who really are my friends. There are too many to name – but know that I am eternally grateful. With your confidence, I was not only able to run seven times for mayor, but be elected all seven times.
I would also like to thank my office staff – Janet and Nate – and particularly my Chief of Staff – John Beaulieau.
My greatest thanks goes to my wife, Gina – who has been a source of guidance and strength – and though she will tell you that I truly love my city – I can tell you that I truly love her.
With all that said, I look forward to working with the City Council to create even more opportunities for success for the remainder of my term. Thank you and God Bless Chicopee.